VIVA Germany

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The current logo of VIVA
Launched 1 December 1993; 24 years ago (1993-12-01) (as VIVA – das Musikfernsehen)
Owned by Viacom International Media Networks Europe
Picture format 576i (16:9 SDTV)
1080i (HDTV)
Audience share 0.1% (October 2017 (2017-10), KEK)
Country Germany
Language German
Broadcast area Germany
Headquarters Berlin, Germany
Sister channel(s) MTV
MTV Brand New
Comedy Central
Nick Jr.
Kabel Deutschland (Germany) Channel 201 (SD) / Channel 225 (HD)
Telekom Entertain (Germany) Channel 62 (SD/HD)

VIVA (formerly: VIVA – das Musikfernsehen) is a free-to-air German-language music television channel, first broadcast on 1 December 1993. A consortium of broadcasters and record companies led by Time Warner, Sony Television, PolyGram Records and EMI Music, but not the German-based Bertelsmann Music Group, saw the investment in VIVA as an antidote to the "vain posturing power of MTV Networks executives", according to Germany's Süddeutsche Zeitung.[1] This channel is a German version of MTV.

Executives at US media giant Time Warner, keen on increasing their market share of its music repertoire and business in Germany, planned the new TV station in 1992. Eventually, they recruited DoRo Productions, producers of music videos for notable acts such as Queen, The Rolling Stones, David Bowie, in the design of the music channel. VIVA became an immediate success with the audience, while ultimately providing German artists with a music channel that could help expose their music to the German audience. After many years of successful competition for audience share, MTV Networks Europe eventually acquired VIVA on 14 January 2005 after it had outran its own efforts for better ratings. MTV today operates VIVA channels across Europe, in Austria, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Poland, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.


Screenshot by VIVA Germany (May 2011)

Initial concept[edit]

The concept behind VIVA originated in 1992, when major record labels were frustrated by MTV Europe's decision to program mostly English-language music videos to the Germanophone markets, in what was perceived as its refusal to play major German-speaking artists. Time Warner executives Tom McGrath and Peter Bogner assembled a group of record labels that included its very own Warner Music, EMI Music, Polygram Records and Sony Television along with Frank Otto, Apax Partners, and Austrian producers Rudi Dolezal and Hannes Rossacher of DoRo Productions. In a concept paper of Time Warner, Peter Bogner analyzed MTV's market position as vulnerable, and "while MTV is betting on a diet of pure Anglo-American video clips, VIVA should broadcast at least 40% more German music."[1]

Competing with MTV[edit]

With Dieter Gorny eventually as its second managing director on board, VIVA applied for cable carriage licenses in the various German Bundesländer. DoRo Productions designed the original programming format which while clearly a music video channel, sought to differentiate itself from MTV not just by having a German-speaking voice, but by speaking directly to the differences in pop culture between Germany and the anglophone MTV.

Ironically, before launching the channel, the labels offered to fund MTV in a German-speaking version but were rejected by MTV management at the time, as it espoused a "one world, one language" programming philosophy (at least for Europe since the Latin American Channels used Spanish and Portuguese). On 21 March 1995, a second channel, Viva Zwei ("VIVA Two"), was created, initially a channel for classic music videos which later became concentrated on lesser known and more independently produced music. On 7 January 2002, it was renamed VIVA Plus and its concept changed to a channel dedicated purely to pop and mainstream music for a younger generation of viewers. VIVA Plus shut down on 14 January 2007. It became Comedy Central Deutschland the next day.

Annual Comet Awards[edit]

Since 1995, VIVA holds an annual pop music award ceremony and awards a price known as the Comet. During the 2003 award ceremonies, VIVA openly expressed an anti-Iraq War view. Later that year, VIVA got bad press after it was discovered that it had given Universal Music an unfair advantage in the placement of their music videos.

MTV's response to VIVA[edit]

After MTV introduced a German-language version of itself, the competition between the two stations increased. VIVA was widely perceived as the more mainstream-oriented channel for younger viewers, while MTV Germany was directed at youths and young adults with some more edgier programming. Since the acquisition of VIVA by Viacom, MTV Germany mostly broadcasts reality TV shows. VIVA has become the music channel with chart shows and other similar programmes, which are mostly directed at a mainstream audience. Viacom introduced a programming scheme that allows the station to be run by just 40 people, so many previous employees were made redundant.

MTV parent acquires VIVA[edit]

From January 2011, under a major shakeup at MTV Networks Germany, VIVA continues to be part of MTV Networks Germany's free-to-air package and the channel will become the main music and entertainment brand within Germany while complemented by its sister channels MTV Germany and MTV Brand New, which are now pay TV.[2] VIVA Germany received a new look and on-air branding from 1 January 2011.[3] The new look of VIVA joins the four triangles of the new logo into one triangle, putting the angle of VIVA into one heart.

Since 22 March 2011, VIVA broadcasts only in 16:9. Programs produced in 4:3 are cropped to 14:9 and black bars are added left and right. VIVA HD Germany, a simulcast in 1080i high-definition, launched on 16 May 2011. It is available via IPTV from Deutsche Telekom.

Timesharing with Comedy Central[edit]

From 8 September 2014, VIVA will air between 6 am and 5 pm. In the time between 5 pm and 6 am the program of Comedy Central Germany will be shown. Until October 2014 there will be a simulcast broadcast of the program of Comedy Central on the shared frequency with Nickelodeon (8.15 pm to 5.45 am) and on the VIVA-frequency (5 pm to 6 am).[4][5]



VJ at VIVA Shows
Collien Fernandes 2003–present VIVA Top 100
Jan Köppen 2006–present VIVA Top 100
Palina Rojinski 2011–present VIVA Top 100
Romina Becks 2011–present VIVA Top 100
Daniel Budiman 2011–present Game One (MTV show)
Simon Krätschmer 2011–present Game One (MTV show)
Nils Bomhoff 2011–present Game One (MTV show)
Etienne Gardé 2011–present Game One


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Hans-Jürgen Jakobs (10 January 2005). "Der V-Faktor". Süddeutsche Zeitung. Retrieved 26 April 2012. 
  2. ^ Briel, Robert (5 October 2010). "MTV turns pay in Germany". Broadband TV News. Retrieved 3 October 2013. 
  3. ^ [1] Archived 25 November 2010 at the Wayback Machine.
  4. ^ "Kastner dampft Viva ein und baut Nickelodeon aus". Retrieved 22 June 2014. 
  5. ^ "Viacom schrumpft VIVA bereits im September". Retrieved 28 July 2014. 
  6. ^ "Shows & Videos". VIVA. Retrieved 27 December 2013. 

External links[edit]