'Mad Men' Helps German Net ZDFneo Triple Market Share

Digital channel ZDFneo successfully exploits neglected niche in German free-TV

COLOGNE, Germany -- Don Draper couldn't have asked for a better product launch: new German digital channel ZDFneo has tripled its market share since its bow last year, thanks to high-profile imported series including Mad Men.

ZDFneo is still far from a mainstream success. It's market share has gone from 0.1% to 0.3% it its first year of operation. But those figures don't give a true picture of the channel's performance, since it is only available to digital TV customers. In the digi-TV market, ZDFneo boasts a 0.7% market share.

A public channel, ZDFneo has successfully exploited a neglected niche in German free-TV for more ambitious programming ignored by the country's mainstream networks. In addition to Mad Men, ZDFneo has picked up shows including BBC's spy thriller Spooks, ABC legal drama Dirty Sexy Money and therapist sitcom Being Erica from Canada's CBC.