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Europe: Viacom downgrades VIVA Germany to part-time channel


Germany's once iconic music channel VIVA  is to be downgraded to a part-time channel from October in a shake up of owner Viacom's channels for Germany, Austria and Switzerland. 

Reports in the German media state that from October, VIVA Germany's hours will be cut to 0600-1700 local time, with sister channel Comedy Central taking over for the evening and overnight. Currently Comedy Central timeshares with Nickelodeon Germany. Nickelodeon Germany will go 24 hours as a result of the changes. Unlike in the UK, the German versions of VIVA, Comedy Central and Nickleodeon are available free-to-air on satellite in standard definition. MTV Germany will migrate to being an HD only channel on pay TV platforms.

VIVA originally launched as a German competitor to Viacom's MTV in 1993, when MTV was still a pan-European, English language channel. VIVA quickly moved ahead of MTV in the ratings and expanded into other Central European countries. Following VIVA's acquisition by Viacom in 2004, the channel gradually evolved with non-music programming taking up the evening schedule, with the last major revamp of the channel in 2011.

In 2009, the VIVA brand was exported to the UK, where Freeview channel TMF was rebranded VIVA.

Comments from viewers on German websites draw parallels between VIVA and TMF. TMF, which started life in the Netherlands in the 1990s was acquired by Viacom in 2002. In 2011 it was downgraded to a part-time service. Months later it was finally shut down for good.

  • Viacom recently announced it was buying the UK's Channel 5 from Northern & Shell. How this will affect Viacom's British channel portfolio, which includes Viva UK remains to be seen.

Watching the Neighbours
This is part of an occasional series of articles featuring developments in Europe of interest to UK readers.

Sweden: Sweden trials DRM+ Radio  (01 Mar 2014)

Italy: Discovery takes Six Nations Rugby to Italy with Simplestream (02 Feb 2014)

Europe: ITV launches European Catch-Up platform  (13 Nov 2013)



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