Focusing on the development and production of entertainment formats, from talent and game shows to dating skeins, comedy sketch programs and docutainment, UFA Show & Factual provides content to all of Germany’s leading broadcasters, including RTL, ARD, ZDF and ProSieben.
From its headquarters in Cologne and offices in Berlin, Hamburg and Baden-Baden, UFA Show & Factual produces shows that attracts millions of viewers in Germany as well as in Austria, Switzerland and beyond.
“People are quickly at home with our formats,” says UFA Show & Factual CEO Ute Biernat, explaining the company’s continuing success with its shows.
Among its most popular shows are RTL Television’s long-running “Deutschland sucht den Superstar” (“DSDS”), Germany’s version of “American Idol,” and “Supertalent,” the local version of “America’s Got Talent,” which achieves a share of more than 22% among young viewers.
Biernat describes dating format “Take Me Out,” likewise on RTL, as “unbeatable,” noting that it has a market share of up to 21.3% among 14-to-49-year-olds. UFA Show & Factual’s other dating show, “Bauer sucht Frau” (Farmer Wants a Wife), has similarly proved a major success for RTL in Germany and ATV in Austria.
Biernat adds that UFA Show & Factual has “revolutionized” ARD’s early evening lineup with the original quiz show “Wer weiss denn sowas?” (Who Knew?), garnering a market share of up to 19.2% among total viewers and 12.7% among young audiences – double the channel’s early evening average in the 14-to-49 demographic.
“We always have a clear orientation and meet the expectation of our viewers for entertainment, fun or even knowledge,” Biernat says. “Our casting shows ‘DSDS’ and ‘Das Supertalent’ offer the chance to fulfil a dream; ‘Take Me Out’ is great dating fun and ‘Who Knew?’ conveys useless knowledge in a humorous way.”
RTL II’s social documentary format “Hartz und Herzlich” continues to attract viewers with its focus on German families living in poverty. The show, Biernat says, “presents the untold truth, just real people in real life, without a script.”
“The proximity to our protagonists and guest contestants is important to us – we present real people and treat everyone in front and behind the camera the way we would want to be treated,” she adds.
Other popular shows include the long-running hit home renovation show “Zuhause im Glück,” which the company has produced for RTL II since 2005.
UFA Show & Factual has also scored big with revivals of classic gameshow formats for RTLplus, including new editions of “The Price Is Right,” “Family Feud” and “Ruck Zuck,” an adaptation of the 1980s ABC format “Bruce Forsyth’s Hot Streak.”
Also benefiting from the company’s formats is kid’s channel Super RTL, which has achieved market shares of more than 20% among 3-to-13-year-olds with the popular format “Super Toy Club.”
UFA Show & Factual’s formats are not just ratings successes at home – they also perform strongly abroad. Biernat points to “Who Knew?” in particular: “Internationally, it naturally helps the format that the show is doing so well in such a large market as Germany.”
The greater the success abroad, the more it boosts productions domestically, she says.
“It is precisely due to the international success of original German productions that a new self-awareness has developed, which has a cross-border effect,” Biernat points out.
At the same time, a dearth of quality international formats on the world market has led to greater innovation on the domestic front, she adds.
“The international format market has been depleted for years. At the big trade fairs in Cannes there is no longer the ‘next big hit’ to buy from the traditional format-developing countries like the U.S., the U.K. or the Netherlands. This is why investments are also being made in the development sector in countries which used to adapt a lot. That’s naturally an opportunity for us and for the creative heads in our team.”