Ralf Blasius, ce for science and natural history, ZDF Enterprises (Mainz)
August 1, 2006

Ralf Blasius, CE for science and natural history, ZDF Enterprises (Mainz)
For the last three years, we’ve had a natural history strand in the afternoon called ‘Wonderful World.’ It experienced a slight drop in ratings, but this could have been related to the large amount of films we have shown in it. [The subjects become] less sensational when you can watch them on a daily basis. We started with a 10% to 13% market share, and after three years we only had 8% to 11%.

The idea came up to do something about German zoos, so in March we started testing with a ‘zoo docusoap’ format about zookeepers, their problems, and the animals. This was very successful, so we changed the strand. I would not say that we cut a strand – we still have animals on it.

The ratings of the zoo soap are between 11% and 18% market share – more successful than the docs have ever been. I think this demonstrates that you sometimes have to change to keep attracting the audience. From the demographics perspective, it is mainly a similar audience.

Muriel Rosé, director of documentaries, France 3 (Paris)
For the moment, we have given up developing wildlife and discovery documentaries. ‘Explore,’ the slot reserved for them on Sundays at 6 p.m., had only an average audience – in spite of quality programs – of 11% (or 1.5 million viewers), when the expected audience was 15% (or 2.1 million). We have programs in production and will broadcast them during the summer or school holidays.

About The Author
Daniele Alcinii is a news reporter at realscreen, the leading international publisher of non-fiction film and television industry news and content. He joins the rs team with journalism experience following a stint out west with Sun Media in Edmonton's Capital Region, and communications work in Melbourne, Australia and Toronto. You can follow him on Twitter at @danielealcinii.