VIVA Germany

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The current logo of VIVA
Launched 1 December 1993; 24 years ago (1993-12-01)
Closed 31 December 2018; 3 months' time (2018-12-31)[1]
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 (abbreviation for: Videoverwertungsanstalt)[2] 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.[3] The channel was intended to be a German competitor for MTV and was the first music TV channel to be broadcast in German language while MTV was only broadcast in English until the introduction of MTV Germany in 1997. It was also supposed to focus more on German music and pop culture while MTV only broadcast anglophone music by artists mostly from North America, the UK, Ireland and Australia.

After years of competition for audience share, MTV Networks Europe eventually acquired VIVA on 14 January 2005 after it had outrun its own efforts for better ratings. MTV today operates VIVA channels across Europe, in Austria, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Poland, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. In June 2018, Viacom announced that it will shut down all Viva operations worldwide at the end of 2018.


Screenshot of 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. 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. 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."[3]

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.

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.[clarification needed][citation needed]

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 focused on lesser known and more independently produced music, mostly alternative rock, metal and hip hop. However, Viva Zwei was not financially successful, so on 7 January 2002, it was replaced by VIVA Plus, a channel dedicated purely to pop and mainstream music for a younger generation of viewers. VIVA Plus was discontinued on 14 January 2007 and got replaced by Comedy Central Deutschland the next day.

Comet Awards[edit]

Since 1995, VIVA held an annual pop music award ceremony known as the Comet. During the 2003 award ceremonies, VIVA openly expressed an anti-Iraq War view.[citation needed] The awards were last held in 2011. The 2012 awards were cancelled as Viacom wanted to focus more on the MTV Europe Music Awards instead.[4] Although they were never officially cancelled altogether, they have not been held ever since.

MTV's response to VIVA[edit]

After MTV introduced a German-language version of itself in 1997, 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.[citation needed] In 2003, VIVA got bad press after it was discovered that it had given Universal Music an unfair advantage in the placement of their music videos.[citation needed]

MTV parent acquires VIVA[edit]

In 2004, VIVA was acquired by Viacom International, which also owns MTV, thus ending the rivalry between Viva and MTV and making them start to cooperate instead. Since the acquisition of VIVA by Viacom, MTV Germany shifted to mostly broadcasting reality and comedy shows. VIVA became the music channel with chart shows and other similar programmes, which were mostly directed at a mainstream audience. Viacom introduced a programming scheme that allowed the station to be run by just 40 people, making many previous employees redundant.

From January 2011, under a major shakeup at MTV Networks Germany, VIVA continued to be part of MTV Networks Germany's free-to-air package and the channel became 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.[5] VIVA Germany received a new look and on-air branding from 1 January 2011.[6] 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.


In June 2018, Viacom announced its decision to discontinue VIVA at the end of 2018. The slot will be filled by Comedy Central, which had already shared its slot with VIVA since 2014 and after the end of VIVA will become a 24-hour channel after so far having been only broadcast in the evening and night hours while VIVA was broadcast at daytime.[7]


Current programming[edit]

  • #Facebookclips
  • #Tweetclips
  • Deutschstunde
  • Eure VIVA Lieblingsklicks
  • Good Morning Saturday
  • Good Morning Sunday
  • Most Wanted 2000´s
  • MTV Top 100 (previously until December 2017 as VIVA Top 100)
  • Music
  • Neu um 9
  • Night Sounds
  • Night Sounds Party (at weekend instead of Night sounds)
  • Supercharts
  • VIVA Charts … 1 Year Ago
  • VIVA Charts … 5 Years Ago
  • VIVA Fahrstuhlmusik
  • VIVA Sounds
  • VIVA Streaming Charts
  • VIVA Top 20 Singlecharts
  • VIVA Wecker
  • VIVAs Most Played Charts
  • Your Choice

Previous programs[8][edit]


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. ^ "Bye bye Viva: Wir verabschieden uns nach 25 Jahren vom coolsten Musiksender" (in German). Retrieved 2018-06-20. 
  2. ^ Lückerath, Thomas (1 December 2008). "Happy Birthday: 15 Jahre Videoverwertungsanstalt". 
  3. ^ a b Hans-Jürgen Jakobs (10 January 2005). "Der V-Faktor". Süddeutsche Zeitung. Retrieved 26 April 2012. 
  4. ^ "VIVA sagt «Comet»-Verleihung ab". Quotenmeter (in German). 2012-05-18. Retrieved 2018-08-01. 
  5. ^ Briel, Robert (5 October 2010). "MTV turns pay in Germany". Broadband TV News. Retrieved 3 October 2013. 
  6. ^ [1] Archived 25 November 2010 at the Wayback Machine.
  7. ^ "Viacom to retire VIVA by end of 2018". TVBEurope. Retrieved 2018-06-25. 
  8. ^ "Shows & Videos". VIVA. Retrieved 27 December 2013. 

External links[edit]