Television in Germany

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Phoenix reporter Heinz Abel during a live broadcast from Munich
Building of the capital studio of ARD in Berlin
MDR headquarters in Leipzig

The television in Germany represents a cultural, social, political and economic part of the German media is landscape.

95 percent of German households now have at least one television receiver . Television is one of the leading media in Germany today .


On March 22, 1935, the world's first regular television program in Germany was broadcast live on the Paul Nipkow television station in Berlin. Operation was initially limited to around two hours in the evening on three days of the week. Initially, a 180-line image was broadcast, which only provided images of moderate quality. The number of television viewers was extremely low at an estimated 250 (with 75 registered receivers). With the opening of the first public television rooms in Berlin, Potsdam and Neuruppin, the new medium was made accessible to a wider public for the first time. However, given the initially relatively poor image quality, the response was rather restrained.

A first high point in the number of visitors to the television rooms and large screen areas came at the 1936 Summer Olympics . At times over 10,000 viewers per month were the first mass audience during this time. With the introduction of the 441-line method on November 1, 1938, the image resolution and thus the quality of the images was significantly improved. After the outbreak of World War II, the broadcasts were initially stopped between September 3, 1939 and November 11, 1939, only to be resumed (mainly for the purpose of troop entertainment). In the autumn of 1944, these television programs were finally stopped in the German Reich due to the war.

With the division of Germany after the Second World War, the history of German television continues in different ways. Both the GDR and the Federal Republic of Germany began broadcasting television programs in 1952. In the GDR, the German television broadcaster (DFF). In 1952, ARD's German television (now: Das Erste ) started in the Federal Republic, followed by Second German Television (ZDF) as the second broadcaster in 1963, and ARD's third regional programs began operating in the mid to late 1960s. A fundamental change took place in the 1980s: in 1981 private broadcasting was approved and as a result the dual broadcasting system was established. In 1984 the first private television station was launched, around ten years later the television market was divided. The four big channels Das Erste, ZDF, RTL and Sat.1 , and the smaller channels ProSieben , RTL 2 , Kabel 1 and Vox as well as the respective third program had emerged. There are also a large number of small stations that mainly offer special interest programs.

With the 2010 decade , streaming services , predominantly US providers, were increasingly used . In 2019, according to a study commissioned by ARD and ZDF, 14 to 29-year-olds in Germany spent more time streaming for the first time than with the programs of linear channels.


There are over 145 television stations , which are mainly commercial enterprises and therefore aim to make a profit . The public broadcasters (including Das Erste, ZDF and the regional “third programs”) and the private broadcasters that have existed since 1984 share roughly half the market .

Public broadcasters

The nine regional broadcasters of the ARD

The public service broadcasters provide the population with basic information, but now with a very large proportion of entertainment. They are largely financed by license fees and, to a small extent, from advertising income .

The ARD (working group of the public broadcasters of the Federal Republic of Germany), founded in 1950, is an amalgamation of the nine German state broadcasters . These organize the television station Das Erste as a joint program as well as their own regional programs , the so-called third programs . The ARD program for foreigners fulfills tasks of information and integration for migrants in Germany.

The ARD Digital division operates its own digital platform across Germany under the name "ARD-Digital". It contains 17 channels, including the additional digital programs tagesschau24 and One . The state broadcasting corporations exchange files as well as radio and television programs with one another via the broadband network HYBNET operated by the ARD star .

The Second German Television (ZDF) was founded in 1963 and is a non-profit institution under public law based in Mainz (Rhineland-Palatinate). Since 1997, ZDF has also offered ZDFvision with a bouquet of seven television programs, including the additional digital channels ZDFinfo and ZDFneo .

As a joint German-language program, ARD and ZDF operate the cultural broadcaster 3sat, which was launched in 1984, together with Austrian Broadcasting (ORF) and Swiss Radio and Television (SRF) . ARD, ZDF and ARTE France and, to a lesser extent, SRF have operated the Franco-German cultural channel Arte since 1992 .

In addition, ARD and ZDF jointly operate the event and documentation channel Phoenix , the children's channel KiKA and the online media offering funk for teenagers and young adults between 14 and 29 years of age.

Commercial television channels

In addition to the public broadcasters, there are a large number of private broadcasters on free-to-air television in Germany . These are financed exclusively through advertising income and, for this reason, broadcast significantly more advertising.

With ProSiebenSat.1 Media and the RTL Group, there are two large groups on the German television market.

ProSiebenSat.1 Media SE, based in Munich, includes the stations Sat.1 , ProSieben , kabel eins and sixx as well as other smaller stations. In 2006, the ProSiebenSat.1 Media stations had a total market share of almost 21%.

The RTL Group , based in Cologne, which is 90.4% owned by Bertelsmann SE & Co. KGaA , owns 100% the channels RTL Television and the news channel n-tv. The RTL Group also holds shares in the broadcasters RTL II , VOX and Super RTL . In 2006, RTL Television had a market share of 12.8% (viewers over 3 years of age).

There are also special-interest programs such as music channels (e.g. Deluxe Music , MTV , VIVA ), news and information (e.g. World ), sports (e.g. Eurosport 1 , Sport1 ), fictional entertainment ( Tele 5 ), gaming channels (e.g. K1010 ) or home shopping (e.g. HSE24 ). Furthermore, a wide range of regional television channels has been established (e.g. NRW.TV , Saar TV , Sachsen Fernsehen , TV.Berlin ), which usually offer regional programs.

Pay TV / Pay TV

Leader of the division pay-TV / pay TV is the channel Sky (until July 2009 premiere ), headquartered in Unterföhring .

For the target group of Germans abroad, there is (mainly in German and only via satellite) the channel DW-TV , which is broadcast worldwide by Deutsche Welle (satellite only), as well as ProSiebenSat.1 Welt by SAT.1 and ProSieben (only United States ). From 2002 to 2005 there was the broadcaster German TV (ARD / ZDF / DW) based in Berlin .

Allied Forces TV channels

Logo of the AFN

Depending on the sector, there are or have been television stations with (almost always) low transmission power for the Allied forces on German soil:

In the case of reception via satellite, the broadcasts are encrypted and can only be received using a decoder , which is only legally available for military personnel. The importance of the stations has decreased since the 1990s, as fewer and fewer members of foreign armed forces are stationed in Germany.

Market shares

After the introduction of private television, the market shares of the private broadcasters rose steadily. After reunification, RTL and Sat.1 achieved particularly high ratings in eastern Germany and RTL was at times the market leader in all of Germany. Even today, significantly more private television is watched in East Germany than in the rest of the country. While RTL was the market leader in the east with a market share of 14.3 percent on an annual average in 2006, ahead of the first with 12.0 percent, in the west it was the other way around: there, the first reached 14.9 percent and RTL stood at 12.3 percent still in third place behind ZDF.

The surveys show that the part of the population defined as the upper class watches television the least frequently with around two hours a day and clearly prefers the public broadcasters, while the lower class population spends an average of five hours a day in front of the television and disproportionately often privately TV channel switches on. In 2004, the first had a market share of 20.5 percent in the upper class, but only 7.7 percent in the lower class. In contrast, RTL only had a 9.8 percent market share in the upper class compared to 15.2 percent in the lower class.

The third programs suffered significant losses in viewership due to the introduction of private television. They have been able to increase their market shares again since the mid-1990s and reach between five and nine percent of viewers in their respective broadcasting areas.

In addition to their market shares among the total audience, the private broadcasters also show the quotas in the target group of 14 to 49-year-old viewers, which is relevant to the advertising industry , where they usually achieve higher values ​​than the audience as a whole due to their content orientation. In 2006, the offer of pay television Premiere had a total market share of around 2.1 percent.

The market shares are made available to the public in various published articles.


"Kripo live" of the MDR

Most of the transmitters operate around the clock and every day, only a few smaller providers share a channel depending on the type of reception. In border areas, the neighboring program can be received via antenna, e.g. For example, the ORF program can still be seen in Bavaria 100 km north of Austria . This was not always the case - for cost reasons, there were nightly breaks in broadcasting before the market opened (from 1:00 to 7:00 only a test image and a tone were broadcast). Up until the 1990s, many programs were still popular, but these days this is rather rare.

The programs are interrupted by commercials on the private channels . The attractive supporting program is intended to encourage viewers to look at the advertising blocks. These represent the main source of income for private broadcasters. ARD and ZDF only show advertising until 8 p.m., the other public broadcasters are free of advertising. Public service films are generally not interrupted by advertising; however, the ZDF in particular has switched to fading out film ends and replacing them with self-promotion.

There are numerous television formats such as: B. Political magazines , television magazines , information programs , documentaries , news , quizzes , feature films , children's series and soap operas .

The offer is extremely varied and diverse, it fills almost every niche . Here is a list of the most important programs:


When it comes to journalistic quality, ARD has always been considered particularly demanding, and it also has most of the correspondents from all German broadcasters under contract. The print media were broadcast in the press review of the public broadcaster. There is also the ARD press club every Sunday (successor to the international morning pint , which has existed since 1953). Journalism is now only a small part of the television offer. It can be found primarily in news , reports , documentaries, television magazines and the like. The most popular news program on German television is Tagesschau (ARD). In 2010, by the end of November, Das Erste had an average of 5.34 million viewers, with viewers for the third, 3sat and Phoenix 9.08 million total viewers.

According to Art. 25 of the Interstate Broadcasting Agreement (RStV), the two full-coverage television programs with the greatest reach are obliged to provide broadcasting time for regional window programs. Furthermore, channels with large market shares are gem. Art. 30, 31 RStV obliged to provide independent third parties with airtime for window programs, especially in the areas of culture, education and information ( third-party license ), in order to ensure the diversity of opinion . The best-known third-party broadcasters are AZ Media and dctp .

Fictional programs

In terms of self-produced films, detective stories such as Tatort and comedies as well as romances of the shallower kind (e.g. Rosamunde Pilcher ) should be mentioned. For externally produced feature films, mostly cinema films, the broadcasters have to pay licenses to the rights holder ( film distributor ), as everywhere else . Films and series in a foreign language are, with a few exceptions, for example on ARTE, dubbed , which is not common in every country.

TV Shows

TV series make up a large part of the fictional programs on German television. While the public broadcasters mainly broadcast their own productions, the private broadcasters often rely on licensed series from abroad, primarily the United States. The main genres are crime, doctor and family series. In the 1990s in particular, private broadcasters were also able to produce series such as Der Clown (1996-2000), Alarm für Cobra 11 - Die Autobahnpolizei (since 1996), Die Wache (1994-1996), Alphateam - Die Lebensretter im OP ( 1996–2005) and Wolffs Revier (1992–2006) celebrate great successes.

ZDF is particularly known for the medical series Die Schwarzwaldklinik , which is one of the most successful German television series and has been sold in 38 countries worldwide. Between 1985 and 1989, 70 episodes were broadcast, plus continuing television films. The episode “The Question of Guilt” from November 17, 1985 holds the record for a fictional program with an audience rating of 27.97 million viewers. The doctor series Der Landarzt ran from 1987 to 2013 and, with 297 episodes, is one of the longest-running German television series. The ZDF also ran the crime series Derrick with Horst Tappert , which is another export hit on German television. 281 episodes were filmed between 1974 and 1998. Since 1981, ZDF has also broadcast 280 episodes of Ein Fall für Zwei , which is also one of the longest-running series on German television, as has SOKO Munich with more than 430 episodes since 1976.

In the first, the Lindenstrasse is one of the most successful and best-known series, which has been broadcast nationwide in the evening program since 1985 and now looks back on more than 1,350 episodes. The Fahnder (1983-2001) with more than 200 episodes is one of the most famous German crime series. The doctor series In all friendship with more than 550 episodes since 1998 is also one of the most successful and longest running series in the first. The metropolitan area has been on the air since 1986 and looks back on more than 340 episodes.

Television films

Crime scene logo

Television films are of great importance on German television and, together with series, cover the majority of the fictional program part. Here, too, the public broadcasters are of greater importance than the private broadcasters, which have their own television films produced to a much lesser extent. European co-productions are often added to their own projects . As with the series, the crime film in particular is one of the predominant genres, alongside love and family films, comedies and dramas.

In public television, the television series, some of which have been running for decades, also stand out. The ARD crime film series Tatort , which has been on the air since 1970, looks back on more than 1000 films and is still one of the programs with the highest ratings on ARD and German television. Other important TV series are the crime film series Polizeiruf 110 (ARD), which was taken over from GDR television, with a total of more than 300 films since 1971, Das Traumschiff on ZDF (since 1981, 67 films have been broadcast to date) and Der Bulle von Tölz with 70 films between 1995 and 2009 (Sat. 1).

In addition, multi-parts are also of great relevance. The best-known multi-part series include, in particular, the films directed by Dieter Wedel, such as The Great Bellheim (1992, 4 parts) or The Shadow Man (1995, 5 parts).

Soap operas (soaps)

Logo from GZSZ

Soap operas broadcast on German television initially consisted exclusively of foreign film material. The broadcast of the US series Dallas (ARD) and Denver-Clan (ZDF) can be seen as the beginning . In the 1980s and 1990s, a large number of foreign soap operas were shown in full or in part on German private broadcasters, including California Clan and Springfield Story (RTL) and Neighbors (Sat.1). Little by little, all foreign soap operas were discontinued on German television; The longest ran Reich und Schön (ZDF, until 2000 RTL) with 5992 episodes broadcast in Germany until June 2011. Repetitions were shown on Tele 5 until September 2016.

The first German soap opera is Lindenstrasse , which has been running as a weekly series on Das Erste since 1985. The first German daily soap is the RTL series Gute Zeiten, haben Zeiten (GZSZ) , which has been running on RTL since 1992 . Another format that is still running today is the series Unter Uns (on RTL since 1994) , which started in the following years . Most of the later soap operas were discontinued after a certain period due to poor ratings, including Marienhof (from 1992 to 2011 in the first) and Verbotene Liebe (1995 to 2015 in the first).


The "Telenovela" format, which originally came from Latin America, was unknown on German television for a long time, with the exception of occasional import broadcasts. Starting in November 2004, the first German telenovela was broadcast on ZDF with Bianca - Ways to Luckily . Due to good ratings, a large number of different telenovelas were soon found in the programs of various television channels. Both the public broadcasters, such as Sturm der Liebe (ARD) or Ways to Happiness (ZDF), as well as the private broadcasters, such as Verliebt in Berlin (Sat.1), found the format well received.

One of the characteristics of this type of series is actually that, unlike the soap operas , they have a fixed ending and end after a certain number of episodes. In Germany in particular, however, most telenovelas are repeatedly extended if the ratings are good.

Entertainment programs

There are different forms of entertainment on German television. In addition to the fictional programs ( so are) particularly common game shows like Millionaire? , fictional court shows , everyday reports and series of various kinds. In the 1990s, everyday talk shows dominated the afternoon program.

Television shows

Logo of Wetten, dass ..?

Popular television shows in the younger years included One Will Win (ARD, 1964–1987 (with interruptions)), Der goldene Schuß (ZDF, 1964–1970), Dalli Dalli (ZDF, 1971–1986) and Herzblatt (1987–2006) . With the advent of private television at the end of the 1980s, numerous game shows came on the screens, often adaptations of US formats, Wheel of Fortune (Sat. 1, 1988–2002), Ruck Zuck (Tele5, 1988–2000), The price is hot (RTL, 1989–1997), Family Duel (RTL, 1992–2003) and Go all out! (Sat. 1, 1992-1997). In the evening program, the formats Geld oder Liebe (ARD, 1989–2001), Traumhochzeit (RTL, 1992–2000) and The 100,000 Mark Show (RTL, 1993–2000) were also successful .

In the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, the big Saturday evening shows also flourished and were real street sweepers . Components of such a program are game elements, music appearances, roundtables and often a long airtime. The changes in the television landscape in recent decades have made the format of the big Saturday evening show sometimes seem outdated. So there are currently very few Saturday evening shows. The show Wetten, dass ..? However, it was adapted over time to the newer circumstances and was therefore also successful until 2011, but since an accident during a live broadcast and Thomas Gottschalk's withdrawal, the format with the new presenter Markus Lanz lost its attractiveness and was discontinued at the end of 2014. From the end of the 1990s to 2015, ProSieben hosted various successful entertainment formats he had produced himself with Stefan Raab, such as B. Schlag den Raab (2006–2015) and with TV Total the longest-running late night show on German television (1999–2015, 2302 episodes). The entertainment program Do you understand fun? Has been on ARD since 1980 . who leads people with Hidden Cam into an awkward situation. In September 2013 ARD followed with Das ist Spitze! a remake of the game show Dalli Dalli . In addition to these shows, the Saturday evening is mainly dominated by casting and quiz shows. Numerous television shows are also presented on broadcast slots during the week, in particular quiz programs and various casting, ranking and reality shows (e.g. Big Brother ).

The program Popstars , which was broadcast on RTL 2 in 2000, is considered the first casting show on German-speaking television . Other well-known casting shows include Deutschland sucht den Superstar (RTL, since 2002), Germany's Next Topmodel (ProSieben, since 2006), Das Supertalent (RTL, since 2007) and The Voice of Germany (Sat.1 / ProSieben, since 2011) . The ranking show The ultimate chart show on RTL looks back on more than 100 episodes since 2003.

Talk Shows

Germany's first talk show was the first broadcast on March 18, 1973 WDR broadcast of the evening, the later which of Dietmar Schoenherr was moderated. The NDR Talk Show has existed since February 1979 . Some of the third programs of the other ARD companies take over the broadcast (sometimes with a time delay).

The format experienced an upswing in the 1990s with the afternoon talk shows on private broadcasters. At times there were up to five talk shows on a station's program, which mainly dealt with trivial everyday topics. Well-known representatives were Hans Meiser (RTL), Vera am Mittag (Sat.1) or Arabella (ProSieben). Britt (Sat.1) is the longest running daily talk show on German television with 2,112 episodes.

There were and are talk shows on political issues, especially on the public broadcasters, including Anne Will and her predecessor program Sabine Christiansen (ARD) or Maybrit Illner (ZDF). From 2011 to 2015 Günther Jauch hosted the weekly talk show on Sunday evening at 9.45 p.m. in the Erste, Günther Jauch .

Quiz shows

A real quiz show boom started on German television at the turn of the millennium with the RTL program Wer wird Millionär? triggered, an adaptation of the British program Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? moderated by Günther Jauch since 1999 . . In the course of a few months, almost all broadcasters produced numerous quiz programs, some of which were closely related to the concept of Wer wird Millionär? oriented and only slightly changed rules of the game. The best-known and longest running programs include Das Quiz with Jörg Pilawa (2001 to 2010 in Das Erste) and Die Quiz Show (from 2000 to 2004 on Sat.1).

The most famous quiz programs from earlier years also include What am I? (ARD / Bayerisches Fernsehen, 1955–1958 and from 1961-1989), Der Große Preis (ZDF, 1974–1993), Amlauf Band (ARD, 1974–1979) and Die Pyramid (ZDF, 1979–1994).

Children's programs

  • Die Sendung mit der Maus - Knowledge program since 1971, worldwide marketing
  • Our Sandman - one of the oldest and once most popular children's programs, 1500 episodes
  • Sesame Street - from 1973 to 1977 translations of the US series Sesame Street (United States), then adapted in-house production (NDR)


Sports show logo

One of the traditional sports programs on German television is the ARD sports show, which has existed since 1961 . Since 2003 the Sportschau has again had the first exploitation rights of the Bundesliga , which ARD had to cede to RTLplus in 1988. The current sports studio broadcast on Saturday evening and the sports report on Sunday afternoon are the regular sports programs on ZDF. With ran , the ProSiebenSat.1 Media Group owns the most traditional sports program on private television.

Major sporting events, including the Olympic Games and the World and European Football Championships , have been and are largely broadcast live by the public broadcasters. Extensive broadcasts of various football competitions, winter sports and cycling events are also shown. The broadcast is mainly based on those sports in which German athletes have the greatest chance of winning.

From the end of the 1980s, the increasingly popular private broadcasters secured a number of sports rights. In addition to the Bundesliga, tennis and boxing events, Formula 1 and soccer tournaments such as the UEFA Champions League were also part of this . Some sports broadcasts can now be seen in parallel on free and pay TV, such as Formula 1 or some Champions League games. Some broadcasts, such as most of the Champions League games, only take place on pay TV.

With Eurosport 1 and Sport1 (until April 11, 2010 as DSF) there are two free-to-air sports channels in Germany.


The Ochsenkopf transmission tower in Bavaria
technology Households total Households relative
satellite 17,779,000 46.1%
Cable (digital) 11,229,000 29.1%
Cable (analog) 6,630,000 17.2%
DVB-T 3,865,000 10.0%
DSL TV 1,899,000 4.9%
total 38,557,000 100%

(Status: 2014)

Unfortunately, statistical data from users of Internet TV OTT and German television abroad are missing here .

The television standard is B / G-PAL ( Phase Alternating Line ) - except for broadcasters operated by foreign armed forces . Transmission takes place via satellites , cable networks and terrestrial . Terrestrial reception was switched to DVB-T between 2002 and 2009 ( DVB-T in Germany ). Digital transmission is already common for satellite reception ( DVB-S ), while the corresponding DVB-C is still used comparatively little by viewers in cable television . Also, Internet Protocol Television (IPTV), streaming media and the reception via mobile phone ( DVB-H and DMB ) service.

Not every station broadcasts in all modes, but most can be received via satellite or cable. The Standard High Definition Television (HDTV) has been broadcast on a regular basis by ARD, ZDF and arte since February 2010. The private broadcasters use the encrypted HD + platform for HDTV broadcasts. The future will show to what extent viewers are prepared to pay additional fees for television that is actually financed by advertising (currently around 50 euros per year in 2011). Two-channel sound is rarely offered (mostly only for feature films or for community broadcasts by multilingual channels). Almost all broadcasters provide their television signal with codes for VPS , which is used for the timely recording of viewers' programs .

There are several hundred television towers in Germany, most of which are operated by Deutsche Telekom . The television companies have to pay fees for the transmission of their signals.


Post service logo

Public television in Germany is primarily financed by radio contributions . For decades, the fees were paid as a sovereign levy by domestic operators of corresponding receivers, including practically every resident of Germany who had operational receivers at home, unless there was an express exemption; as well as traders with operational receivers. The fee collection center of the public broadcasting corporations in the Federal Republic of Germany (GEZ) was responsible for collecting the fees . In recent years, the fee model has been replaced by a contribution model that is independent of the actual use of a service in several countries . In Germany, too, on January 1, 2013, the previous license fee was replaced by a device-independent license fee, which has since been collected by the ARD ZDF Deutschlandradio contribution service. The revenues are used to finance public broadcasting (except for Deutsche Welle ) and the supervisory authorities responsible exclusively for private broadcasting.

The commercial broadcasters are largely financed by television advertising or by subscription as pay TV . Other financing options include donations (e.g. Bible TV or K-TV ), the sale of products (home shopping channels , merchandising ), and value-added telephone services such as call-in competitions and televoting . In addition, the international marketing of programs and formats is a source of finance.

Legal regulation

In Germany, television is regulated by broadcasting law , copyright law and international treaties. As an opinion-forming medium, it falls under the cultural sovereignty of the federal states and is therefore primarily regulated and administered by them. In order to create uniform regulations nationwide, all federal states have agreed on a uniform set of rules with the State Broadcasting Treaty. This contains, in particular, regulations for public broadcasters, the admission requirements for private broadcasters, the form and duration of advertising, protection of minors , short reports and reporting on major events.

The voluntary self-regulation of the film industry checks films with regard to the protection of minors and issues age ratings. Programs that are not suitable for under 16-year-olds (FSK 16) may only be broadcast on television between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., programs approved for ages 18 and over may only be broadcast from 11 p.m. Previews of such programs may only be shown in the specified periods. In order to be able to broadcast such films during prime time, the stations show partially cut and thus defused versions.

Television awards

In Germany, television prizes are donated from various sources to honor work in the television sector.

Among the most important awards include the 1948 by Hubert Burda Media , awarded Bambi , who since 1964 by Adolf Grimme Institute awarded the Adolf Grimme Prize and since 1965 by the TV magazine Hörzu awarded Golden Camera . As a joint institution, the German Television Prize has been awarded by the public television broadcasters Das Erste and ZDF as well as the private broadcasters RTL and Sat.1 since 1999 .


There are 34 million German-speaking television households with an audience of around 73 million people aged three and over.

The broadcasters ARD, ProSiebenSat.1 Media AG, RTL and ZDF operate their own service for the implementation and further development of continuous and quantitative viewer research, the Arbeitsgemeinschaft Fernsehforschung (AGF). The television consumption (telescope with the value of the audience rating) is extrapolated based on 5640 households. Since 2001 there have also been EU citizens living in Germany. The client is the above-mentioned working group for television research, the execution is carried out by the Gesellschaft für Konsumforschung (GfK). According to their statements, the viewing time of a person living in Germany was 212 minutes in 2006, the time spent there was 299 minutes a day. This means a significant increase in comparison to the first all-German evaluation in 1992, when the viewing time was 158 minutes and the length of stay was 240 minutes. People aged 50 and over and East Germans watch an above-average amount of television.

The average daily viewing time depends significantly on the age, education, occupation and income of the person. The age range in 2004 was between 93 minutes (3–13 years) and 289 minutes (> 65 years), the level of education between 162 minutes (Abitur / university degree) and 257 minutes (elementary school leaving certificate) and for work between 168 minutes (senior executives, Freelancers, senior civil servants) and 250 minutes (simple workers). People with a monthly net income of over € 4,000 watch an average of 149 minutes of television; those who earn less than € 1,000 sit in front of the television for an average of 311 minutes. Statistically, the unemployed watch the most television at 319 minutes a day.

TV viewing time by age group in Germany (minutes per day)
Age group 2010 2011 2012 2013 Change 2010-2013 (%)
3 - 13 years 93 93 90 89 -4.3
14 - 19 years 108 111 102 92 -14.8
20 - 29 years 162 159 155 148 -8.6
30 - 39 years 217 211 198 195 -10.1
40 - 49 years 229 232 233 230 0.4
50 - 59 years 265 269 265 260 -1.9
60 - 69 y. 302 310 306 317 5.0
from 70 years 305 303 303 303 -0.7

The prime time is between 20 and 22:30. Since the main edition of the Tagesschau , the most-watched news program on German television, has been running from 8:00 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. for decades, the evening program of almost all channels begins at 8:15 p.m.

The working group Media-Analyze e. V. is a non-profit organization that researches media usage behavior in Germany through surveys. In the printed work “National Representations of Television”, which appears regularly, information on reach and projections are presented (e.g. “viewerships per average half hour” or “viewerships per broadcast day and period”).

Daily TV reach in Germany by age group (in percent)
Age group 2010 2011 2012 2013 Change 2010-2013%
all 72 71 70 69 -4.2
3 - 13 years 56 55 54 53 -5.4
14 - 19 years 50 49 47 43 -14.0
20 - 29 years 57 57 53 51 -10.5
30 - 39 years 72 71 69 68 -5.6
40 - 49 years 73 73 73 72 -1.4
50 - 59 years 77 77 76 75 -2.6
60 - 69 y. 83 83 82 83 0.0
from 70 years 86 86 85 85 -1.2


  • Germany is a member of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU, commonly known as Eurovision).
  • Every major broadcaster offers teletext and ShowView numbers.
  • Outside of broadcasting activity, at least the nationwide active broadcasters are represented with websites , some of which accompany the program in great detail.
  • The Commission for Determining Concentration in the Media Area (KEK) is a state-mandated monitoring institution for information diversity . It documents the ownership structure of private television. Your evaluations are used to avoid monopoly-like conditions in the German media landscape. If a group of companies appears too dominant in the market, it is feared that opinion will be channeled.
  • Many German programs are archived in the Berlin TV Museum, which has existed since 2006, and can be viewed there.
  • The best-selling German program guide is tv14 with a sold circulation of 1,799,246 copies (status: IVW 2/2020).

See also


Web links

  • TV games Board games for well-known or long-forgotten TV productions document the development of German television from its beginnings to the present day
  • TV programs and editorial content for more than 100 channels, notification function; with pictures
  • Arbeitsgemeinschaft der Landesmedienanstalten (ALM): TV station database updated database of all nationally receivable television stations, provided their programs are broadcast in Germany


  1. Oliver Kaever: Decade of Netflix, Amazon Prime and Co .: The continuous fire television . In: Spiegel Online . December 27, 2019 ( [accessed December 27, 2019]).
  2. Christian Buß: Controversial study on TV consumption: Is Netflix the gravedigger of ARD and ZDF? In: Spiegel Online . September 27, 2019 ( [accessed December 28, 2019]).
  3. myAFN FAQ : "Q: Who is authorized to acquire an AFN decoder? A:… Authorized viewers are limited to: active duty military assigned / deployed overseas; direct-hire Department of Defense and Department of State employees serving overseas; military retirees living overseas; and, the family members accompanying these personnel overseas. The commercial television program owners and distributors license their products for distribution on AFN based upon this limited audience. United States Department of Defense regulations and policies enable authorized AFN viewers to acquire the AFN decoder necessary to receive the AFN radio and television services. By restricting access we protect the licenses and copyrights of the programming provided to AFN by US broadcast networks and distributors. If you are not an authorized viewer, you are ineligible to acquire an AFN decoder. " (Accessed February 13, 2008)
  4. [1]
  6. -20 years /
  8. AGF: Market shares of AGF and license stations on a daily average in 2013 , accessed on January 14, 2015
  9. VPRT: TV audience market shares 2013 , accessed on January 14, 2014
  10. Bavarian State Media Authority : Media Diversity Monitor 2/2013 , accessed on January 16, 2015
  11.  ( page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.@1@ 2Template: Dead Link /  
  12. TV news achieve top ratings , from December 8, 2010.
  13. Despite the Internet: TV news is booming ( memento of the original from June 11, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. ,  @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  14. Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung : “Schwarzwaldklinik” got the highest ratings of all time , accessed on July 23, 2012.
  15. ↑ In 2010, 13 of the 15 most-watched films on German television were Tatorte, cf. Camille Zubayr / Heinz Gerhard: Trends in audience behavior. TV habits and TV reach in 2010 , in: media perspektiven 3/2011, p. 135.
  16. Reich und Schön broadcast dates , accessed on December 5, 2018
  17. ^ Website of the NDR
  18. Digitization report 2014 - data and facts. TNS Infratest, July 2014, accessed February 3, 2015
  19. ^ German TV Company
  20. ^ A b Camille Zubayr / Heinz Gerhard: tendencies in viewer behavior. in: Media Perspektiven, 3/2012, pp. 118–132
  21. ^ A b Camille Zubayr / Heinz Gerhard: tendencies in viewer behavior. in: Mediaperspektiven 3/2012, pp. 118–132
  22. ^ A b Camille Zubayr / Heinz Gerhard: tendencies in viewer behavior. in: Mediaperspektiven, 2/2014, pp. 145–158
  23. ^ A b Camille Zubayr / Heinz Gerhard: tendencies in viewer behavior. in: Mediaperspektiven, 2/2014, pp. 145–158