Danes reject U.S. kids nets

AMSTERDAM — Danish cable subscribers solidly rejected a raft of U.S. cablenets, most of them kids channels, in the first major poll in that territory of what Danish viewers want to see on TV.

Tele Danmark Kabel TV, the country’s largest cable company, polled some 350,000 subscribers in 14 different cable areas to find out which channels they preferred. The referendum, monitored by Gallup, was required by Danish law.

Despite a flurry of ad campaigns estimated to have cost as much as $40 million, Nickelodeon, Fox Kids Network, Cartoon Network, and the Sci-Fi Channel were voted down in all 14 regions. Only the Discovery Channel and CNN hung on in all areas, although Scandinavian Broadcasting System’s TV/Danmark made it in 12 of 14 areas.

The Children’s Channel was not so lucky. It was voted out in 12 of 14 regions and the Movie Channel managed to hold on to only one region. Discovery Animal Planet won four regions.

German channels also fell out in the poll, with NDR losing nine areas and ARD losing four out of 14 countrywide.

Jens Kromann, a spokesman for Tele Danmark, said the vote reflected a solid Danish and Scandinavian bias, but he added that the law, which requires Danish viewers to be polled every two years on their preferences, will soon be outdated.

Tele Danmark, he points out, has plans to launch as many as 500 digital channels during the next two years, with the first digital bouquets set for startup in August. “Any of the channels that lost the vote this time around are likely to be up and running in very short order on our cable. The whole law is anachronistic.”

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