Channel on winning course with kids

BERLIN — German children’s channel the Kinderkanal is hoping to continue its recent ratings momentum by introducing German kids to the “Teletubbies.”

Kinderkanal managing director Albert Schaefer announced Friday that the children’s pubcaster in January reached a 17.5% share among its target audience of kids 3-13. The channel’s market share was up 12% compared with December ratings.

Schaefer said innovative approaches have made the Kinderkanal the leader in children’s programming, and he predicted the channel was on a winning course.

A subsidiary channel of pubcasters ARD and ZDF, the Kinderkanal offers live-action and animated fare that it considers to have educational value.

Although the “Teletubbies” has been marketed as an educational show for very young children, it sparked controversy among some of the staff at the Kinderkanal, who questioned the validity of its educational value, as well as the show’s commercial nature. Some were put off by the idea of openly targeting 2- and 3-year-old children with the show’s merchandising tie-ins and objected to it being carried by the Kinderkanal.

Nevertheless, programmers chose to run with the popular show, which has met with success in Britain and the U.S. The popularity of the Kinderkanal here forced the U.S. children’s cable channel Nickelodeon to close up shop in Germany after a three-year run.

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