Franco-German Broadcaster ARTE Gets Budget Bump

Gregory Peters/AMC

The European channel airs cutting-edge series such as "Breaking Bad" and "The Killing."

COLOGNE, Germany – ARTE is getting a budget boost from the French government aimed at helping the French-German public broadcaster reverse its ratings slide and attract younger viewers. The French government will increase its annual funding of ARTE by 7.3 percent next year to $376 million (€270.2 million).

Some $695,000 (€500,000) of that will go to Arte Cinema, the channel’s independent film production arm, bringing its annual budget to about $13 million (€9.5 million). Among ARTE Cinema’s recent co-productions are Lars Von Trier’s Melancholia starring Kirsten Dunst and Michael Radford’s jazz documentary Michel Petrucciani. Upcoming features include the period films Hysteria starring Maggie Gyllenhaal and Hugh Dancy and the in-production Michael Kohlhaas with Mads Mikkelsen, Bruno Ganz and Sergi Lopez.

The ARTE channel is also the French and German home to several cutting-edge series, including Breaking Bad and the Danish version of The Killing.

But the network, which is backed by France Television and German pubwebs ARD and ZDF, has seen its market share slip as digital TV offerings expand in Europe. In France, ARTE’s ratings have dipped from around 3 percent to 1.5 percent. In Germany, the channel has a market share of around 0.7 percent.

To attract more, and younger, viewers, ARTE is planning a major relaunch over the coming months which will see it greatly expand its online presence.