MTV Networks and German vidcaster Viva last week announced launch dates for their baby boomer spinoffs, keeping competition tight for one of the biggest niche ad markets here.

Both channels recently received the regulatory greenlight after a long wait. MTV was to be the first to broadcast its signal to a limited audience beginning March 10, with Viva 2 skedded to follow 11 days later.

Because space is so limited here, both German-language nets will launch partial programming at first. VH1 will borrow the 12-hour unused night-time slot from its sister network, Viacom-owned Nickelodeon, to broadcast its signal. Nickelodeon currently broadcasts via Astra satellite to the U.K. from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

VH1 Germany, which has partnered with Hamburg youth production specialist Me, Myself & Eye (MME), will be carried on an estimated 2 million cable homes beginning in May. The German launch marks the first time MTV has turned over hands-on creative management to a local partner.

Viva II, on the other hand, will launch mostly to cable viewers in the most populous state of Nordrhein Westfalen, but will have a smaller satellite reach via its Eutelsat transponder.

The contest for vid market share has been intense here, with both sides proclaiming itself the more popular among German auds. Viva’s impressive first-year net ad revenues of $19 million attest to strong advertiser interest in the specialty market.

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