Disney Channel Germany Tops Nickelodeon in Ratings on Launch Weekend

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Overall studio financials are strong, but Disney CEO Robert Iger told investors Nov. 10 that the scatter market for ads sold near airtime has "slowed slightly" in recent weeks.

The free-to-air version of the kids-focused network hit the German airwaves this weekend, coming in behind Super RTL and public broadcast kids network KiKa.

Germany's free-TV version of the Disney Channel stormed past Nickelodeon in the rating during its first weekend on air.

It scored a market share of nearly 10 percent in the core demographic of viewers aged 3-13 by Sunday, according to data provided by Disney.

The ratings put Disney Channel in the number three slot among kids TV networks in Germany, behind market leader Super RTL (a 50-50 joint venture between Disney and Bertelsmann-controlled RTL Group) and public broadcaster KiKa. It came in ahead of Viacom's Nickelodeon.

Super RTL's share of the German kids TV market is often cited as being more than 20 percent, KiKa's is around 15 percent, and Nickelodeon typically has around 5 percent-8 percent.

Disney said that a total of 10.8 million viewers watched its new German-language network over the first three days of its launch.

The stand-out success was a Sunday afternoon broadcast of cartoon series Phineas and Ferb, which scored a 20 percent share among 3-13 year-olds.
Among 14-49 year-olds, the key advertising demographic in Germany, the new Disney Channel peaked at 2.5 percent on Sunday.

Lars Wagner, vp and general manager, Disney Channels for German-speaking Europe said the launch exceeded Disney's expectations, but added that key to the channel's success would be continued growth in audience figures and awareness over the first 100 days. “(This is) a long-term engagement," he said. "We aren't thinking in terms of weeks and months."

Robert Langer, country manager for Disney in the region called the new Disney Channel a “lighthouse project and driver of the entire Disney business in Germany.”

While the new Disney Channel is ad-supported, the greater reach of the free-TV network is intended to act as a shop window for Disney films and merchandise in Germany.