News

Extinct?

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
Barry Walsh is editor and content director for realscreen, and has served as editor of the publication since 2009. With a career in entertainment media that spans two decades, prior to realscreen, he held the associate editor post for now defunct sister publication Boards, which focused on the advertising and commercial production industries. Before Boards, he served as editor of Canadian Music Network, a weekly music industry trade, and as music editor for HMV.com. As content director, he also oversees the development of content for the brand's market-leading events, the Realscreen Summit and Realscreen West, as well as new content initiatives.

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