Older auds still watch ARD and ZDF in droves, which dominate overall in terms of total viewers.ARD boasts the three most-watched series: The long-running weekly crime-drama skein “Tatort,” which regularly reaches an aud of more than 8 million viewers on average; medical drama “In aller Freundschaft,” which revolves around the staff of a Leipzig hospital; and “Der Dicke,” about an unconventional Hamburg attorney who’s always looking out for the little guy. Focusing on the key 14-49 demo, RTL, Sat.1 and ProSieben offer a mix of locally produced and hit U.S. licensed series. RTL tops the charts among target auds with its hit Autobahn cop actioner “Alarm for Cobra 11″ and “CSI: Miami.” RTL’s new shows this season include the updated “Dallas” and “Person of Interest.” Sat.1 continues to garner strong ratings with “NCIS” and “Criminal Minds,” while ProSieben has enjoyed success with sitcoms such as “The Big Bang Theory” and “Two and a Half Men.” Germany’s TV viewers remain, for the most part, generationally divided between pubcasters ARD and ZDF and commercial rivals RTL and ProSiebenSat.1.
Strengths: Germany’s deep-pocketed pubcasters continue to score with a majority of viewers with hit dramas and crime shows, while commercial webs RTL and Sat.1 are attracting bigger auds with a strong mix of homegrown and licensed content.
Weaknesses: Are gameshows passe? German auds appear to be getting bored with quiz skeins. Sat.1 saw ratings bottom out on its new daily access primetime format “Ab durch die Mitte” this summer. Although the show moved to a weekly timeslot on Saturday, its days look numbered as the channel appears eager to move away from quiz shows all together. ZDF’s version of “Million Pound Drop,” “Rette die Million” has likewise disappeared from the pubcaster’s lineup, although its future remains undecided.
Showcase show: RTL’s “Alarm for Cobra 11″ has been dazzling auds since its premiere in 1996 and remains one of Germany’s top-rated series. Its recent season premiere drew 4.2 million viewers and 18% among its key 14-49 demo. With its high-speed pileups that catapult blazing cars into the sky on a weekly basis, the high-octane Autobahn cop show has not only topped the ratings in Germany, it’s also sold in more than a 100 countries and territories around the globe, including China, Latin America, France, Spain, Italy, Poland and Turkey.