US media company Walt Disney will turn Disney Channel in Germany from
a pay-TV service into an advertising-financed free-to-air channel on 1
The 24-hour family channel will take over the transmission slots currently occupied by entertainment channel – Das Vierte which Disney acquired in autumn 2012 – on cable, satellite and DTT.
Disney will remain present in the German pay-TV market, with its
channels Disney Cinemagic, Disney Junior and Disney XD. Following the
transition into a free-to-air service, Disney Channel will continue to
mainly show TV series, cartoons and movies from the Disney library. The
schedule will also comprise programmes from third-party suppliers and
original productions for the German audience. While the daytime
programmes will target children, the prime time evening hours will focus
on all family members.
The new family channel will be headed by Lars Wagner, general manager
Disney Channels. The programme line-up of Das Vierte will remain
unchanged until the end of 2013. With the takeover of the distribution
slots by Disney Channel in January 2014, the channel name Das Vierte
will expire on German TV screens.
In the German free-to-air TV market, Disney also holds stakes in
general interest service RTL II and family channel Super RTL. With
Disney Channel going free-to-air, the channel will compete head-on with
Super RTL. Nevertheless, Disney wants to keep its 50% stake in Super
RTL. "This is a good model for both sides," sources at Disney told Rapid