German media company ProSiebenSat.1 wants to launch the first free-to-air, ad-supported documentary channel in the domestic TV market.
“We certainly see potential among viewers who are currently watching the public channels. They’re mainly men between 40 and 65 years of age and they like documentaries,” Katja Hofem, chief operating officer and managing director small channels & new channel development of ProSiebenSat.1, said in the Munich-based company’s annual report 2015. “We took a big step forward in 2015 with our preparations for the first documentary-only channel on free-TV. It’s due to go on the air in the second half of 2016.”
The 40-plus generation has changed completely, according to Hofem. “Twenty years ago, the older men had grown up in the days when public TV was all you could see. Today’s more mature generation grew up with private TV and new media. They’re active, curious and very involved in life. Our target audience is interested in history, politics, nature and technology. At the moment, free-TV has no consistent programming line to meet their individual needs and points of view.”
The schedule will comprise international high-quality documentaries, said Hofem. Regarding the channel’s name, several options are currently evaluated. The goal is to reach an audience market share of more than 1%. “It’s also a kind of psychological barrier that a channel should get past if it wants advertisers to view it as a relevant player in the market,” stressed Hofem.
With the move, ProSiebenSat.1 follows its strategy of launching thematic channels targeting specific audience groups. The latest additions to the portfolio were ProSieben Fun, Sat.1 Gold and ProSieben Maxx. In October 2014, the first rumours emerged that the company is working on a new free-to-air TV channel targeting older male viewers with documentaries.