ZDF to change Theaterkanal to ZDFkultur
By Robert Briel
Published: October 17, 2010 22.20 Europe/London

German public broadcaster ZDF will change its digital thematic channel ZDFtheaterkanal into ZDFkultur on April 1, 2011. Programming will be based on two pillars, popular culture and games.

The move follows the launch last year of the youth oriented digital thematic channel ZDFneo. Markus Schaechter, MD of ZDF, said in a statement: “The viewing habits of the audience have changed, the interest in culture is high, but the forms are different, more playful and also characterized by more participation.”

With the new channel, ZDF wants to show a modern concept of culture that will bridge the separation between high culture and pop culture. The digital specialty channel should reduce the barriers and bring younger viewers to more cultural content.

Popular culture in Germany today has no visual home, said the ZDF director. This gap would be closed with ZDFkultur. Music, performing arts, film, culture, gaming and internet culture are combined in the new ZDFkultur channel, which will feature theatre and opera, as seen on the old ZDFtheaterkanal, but also concerts, pop festivals and theme nights. The concept of the game can be anything, from theatre to computer game.

ZDFkultur’s prime time will be between 18.00 hours and midnight; this six hour block will be repeated throughout the day.

The budget of the ZDFtheaterkanal this year amounted to €8.08 million. In 2011 a budget of €12.58 million for ZDFkultur is planned. The increase has been financed by transfers within the existing ZDF budget.