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RTL Group’s German Flagship Channels Deliver Right Mix for Big Audiences

RTL Group’s German division, Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland, continues to perform solidly with the right mixture of hit scripted fare, both homegrown and imported, and hugely popular entertainment and formats.

In 2013, RTL’s German channels, RTL Television, Vox, RTL II, Super RTL, RTL Nitro and news outlet N-TV attracted a combined 30.6% of the 14-59 demo (an age range the broadcaster expanded last year from its original target demo of 14-49), putting them 5.4 percentage points ahead of rival ProSiebenSat.1’s channels.

With a market share of 13.9%, the group’s flagship RTL Television channel was again the year’s most-watched channel in its target 14-59 demo.

RTL continued to enjoy success with its latest U.S. import, “The Blacklist,” which has garnered a market share of around 16% (2.75 million) among target viewers in its Tuesday night slot following longtime hit “CSI.” “Bones” and “Person of Interest,” which round out the Tuesday crime-drama showcase, likewise remain top shows for the channel with similarly strong ratings.

RTL’s lineup of entertainment formats has similarly amassed legions of loyal followers. The channel’s hit show “Ich Bin ein Star — Holt Mich Hier Raus!” (I’m a Celebrity — Get Me Out of Here!) earned it outstanding ratings last year, drawing up to 43.5% of target viewers.
Likewise, its “Bauer sucht Frau” (Farmer Wants a Wife) format again proved the year’s most popular reality format, with 6.64 million viewers and a peak market share of 23.4% in its key demo.

This year, talent shows such as “Idol” format “Deutschland sucht den Superstar,” “Das Supertalent” and “Let’s Dance” (the local version of the BBC’s “Strictly Come Dancing”) continue to deliver massive ratings.

In March, “Superstar” regularly drew more than 4 million viewers (all ages), while the final episode of dating show “Der Bachelor” also attracted plenty of eyeballs in the same month, with 4.45 million viewers tuning in to watch a handsome chap select his dream fraulein.

The most watched program on RTL last year was, unsurprisingly, the boxing match between Wladimir Klitschko and Russia’s Alexander Povetkin, which drew 11.01 million viewers, corresponding to a 37.4% share of the target market.

Indeed, sports remains big for RTL, which last year also secured rights to broadcast the qualifying matches of the German national team for the European Soccer Championship in 2016 and the World Cup in 2018.

RTL even boasts success with its news program, “RTL Aktuell,” which achieved an 18.2% market share last year, making it the most popular news show in its target group.

RTL’s shows, particularly the long-running hit “Alarm for Cobra 11,” have proven strong sellers overseas for Global Screen, the joint world sales unit of German entertainment groups Telepool and Bavaria Film. RTL and Telepool renewed their distribution pact last year for international rights to all RTL programming outside German-speaking territories.

“RTL Television’s productions have proven to be a great enhancement of our existing programme catalog,” says Thomas Weymar, managing director of Telepool and Global Screen.

In April, RTL will premiere its latest drama, “Der Knastarzt,” about a doctor who is sentenced to prison for assisting a cancer patient to commit suicide but agrees to head the facility’s medical ward.

RTL Deutschland’s Vox channel is the group’s second-most-watched outlet, thanks in large part to its lineup of new and returning U.S. series, including “Arrow” and “Grimm,” both of which got off to strong starts last year. However, the channel has lacked major hits of late, with RTL landing most of the top new series and leaving little for its smaller affiliate. Indeed, Vox has seen its monthly market share steadily drop over the past year, from 7.3% in August to 7% in December and 6.6% in February.

RTL II, meanwhile, significantly improved its ratings last year, achieving its best annual market share since 2004 with an average 6.8% share in its key 14-49 demo. The channel, which carries such U.S. hits as “Game of Thrones” and “The Walking Dead,” enjoyed a particularly big hit with the homegrown docu-soap “Berlin — Tag und Nacht” (Berlin — Day and Night), which achieved peak ratings last year of 17.5% in its target group and 36.6% in the younger 14-29 demo in early evening, Monday-Friday slot.

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