German RTL II To Launch Japanese Cartoon Channel
German commercial TV channel RTL II intends to launch a sister service in 2004 that shows Japanese cartoons 24 hours a day. According to RTL II’s managing director Josef Andorfer, the channel’s shareholders, which include publishing houses Bauer Verlag and Burda Verlag as well as media companies Tele Munchen Gruppe and RTL Group, back the plan for the creation of the channel.
“On RTL II we reach an average audience market share of 18 percent in the young target group of viewers aged between 14 and 29 years with the Japanese animated series,” he said, adding that there is a large demand for content of this kind and a plenty of content from Asia that is currently not available on German TV screens. In addition to income from commercials and sponsoring, the channel aims to get financing through getting a share of the revenue generated by the merchandising of products accompanying the series.
The Japanese channel will broadcast to DTH homes using the Astra satellite system (19.2 degrees East) with cable carriage also envisaged. Screening popular series like “Dragon Ball,” “Pokémon” and “Shin Shan,” the channel aims to fill the gap between Super RTL, that targets viewers aged between three and 13 years, and RTL II’s older audience group. The channel’s yearly budget will amount to 30 million euros ($28 million) in the first two years of which 15 million euros ($14 million) will be invested into the acquisition of the cartoon series rights. Andorfer expects the venture to reach financial break-even as early as its first year of operation.