German broadcasters look to the stars

Astrology gives clues to viewing habits

COLOGNE, Germany -- It is not exactly the Nielsen Ratings: German broadcasters are looking to the stars for clues to their audiences' viewing habits.

This week SevenOne Media, the marketing and ad sales arm of broadcasting giant ProSiebenSat.1, published its first Astrology Ratings. They matched up traditional audience data -- who watches what and when -- with viewers' star signs.

For TV programmers, whose skills traditionally combine actuary mathematics with witch doctor voodoo, the results are a gold mine. Seems male Pisceans are big sitcom fans while your typical female Taurean viewer loves feature films with an erotic edge (a 24% jump in market share!)

Like any good Horoscope, the Astrology Ratings also pick your ideal mate -- based on channel surfing preference. According to the German study, a male Virgoan is the perfect sofa partner for a female Leo (both love cartoons). A female Cancerian should find herself a male Aquarian. There'll be no battles for the remote as both prefer U.S.-made dramas.

The Astrology Ratings are largely tongue-in-cheek but they do reflect a real desperation among broadcasters -- in Germany and elsewhere -- to find new ways to put a positive spin on the overall decline in viewer figures. With hundreds of new digital channels on the dial and the Internet drawing away younger viewers, traditional broadcasters are seeing their audiences fragment.

So if your Nielsen shows your new show's a bomb, you can now rescue it with the line: "but we won the night among Virgoans aged 14-34!"

Astrology ratings horoscope from SevenOne Media:

Aries (March 21-April 20)

Male Aries prefer entertaining series. Aries woman loves tearjerkers and dramatic feature films.

Taurus (April 21-May 21)

The Taurean male wants suspense and action on the small screen but also likes the occasional sitcom. A female Taurean, however, is a channel surfer and watches everything. The one exception is erotic movies, where we see a 24% increase in market share among Taurean women.

Gemini (May 22-June 21)
Geminis are independent thinkers. Neither male nor female Geminis have a favorite channel. But genre-wise, a female Gemini prefers feature films while the male Gemini likes drama series.

Cancer (June 22-July 22)
The female Cancerian is the ideal sofa mate for a male Aquarian: both prefer the U.S series and cooking shows on (German cable channel) VOX. Male Cancerian viewers need to keep informed and prefer 24-hour news channels.

Leo (July 23-August 23)
Male Leos love (cable channels) Sat.1 and kabel eins, females prefer the comedy and cartoons on Pro7.

Virgo (August 24-September 23)
Female Virgoans love to laugh -- at both films and sitcoms. Male Virgoans love cartoons, making them a fine match for female Leos.

Libra (September 24-October 23)

As their sign would suggest, female Librans are very balanced in their viewing habits: They watch a bit of everything. Male Librans are big public broadcasting fans (the highest rating of all male star signs). But they also like the occasional erotic movie -- perhaps together with a female Taurean?

Scorpio (October 24-November 22)
The male Scorpio has no particular viewing preference. In contrast to the Scorpio female: She loves made-for-TV movies that give her emotions free reign.

Sagittarius (November 23-December 21)
Male Sagittarians are addicted to the all-news channels. Sagittarian women don't have a favorite station but, like male Capricorns, love dramatic feature films.

Capricorn (December 22-January 20)
The male Capricorn viewer watches movies, movies, movies, wherever he can find them. Female Capricorns like upscale comedies, preferably on a public broadcaster.

Aquarius (January 21-February 19)
A typical female Aquarian likes the 24-hour news channels, making her a good match for a male Sagittarian. The male Aquarian also likes his news but frequently tunes into drama series as well.

Pisces (February 20-March 21)

Female Pisceans like the mix of refinement and excitement found on public channel dramas. You'll find male Pisceans in front of the set watching sitcoms like "Scrubs" or "The King of Queens."