Infobox Network
network_name = Zweites Deutsches Fernsehen
country = GER
network_type = Broadcast television network
available = National; also distributed in AUT , LUX, CHE and BEL
|key_people = Markus Schächter, President
launch_date = April 1, 1963
founder =
past_names =
brand =
website = [http://www.zdf.de/ www.zdf.de]

Zweites Deutsches Fernsehen ("Second German Television"), ZDF, is a public service German television channel based in Mainz. It is run as an independent non-profit agency established by joint contract between the German federal states ("Bundesländer"). ZDF is funded from a television licence and advertising [http://www.circom-regional.org/crdocs/european-benchmarking2002.pdf] .

The station began broadcasting on 1 April 1963 from Eschborn. The channel broadcast its first programme in colour in 1967. In 1974 ZDF moved its base of operations to Mainz-Lerchenberg, after briefly being located in Wiesbaden.

Transmission and reception


As ZDF is a channel, not a network, the channel is broadcast without any regional variation or affiliates throughout the country, using a number of signal repeaters. Prior to the reunification of Germany, ZDF, like ARD, positioned many of its transmitters in locations favourable to its broadcasts being easily receivable in extensive areas of the GDR, where both channels were viewed by large parts of the population.

Starting in 2002 and expected to be completed in late 2008, the ZDF transmitters have been switched from analogue to digital signal. Digitally, the ZDF mux contains the ZDF itself, 3sat, ZDFinfokanal (ZDF's news channel), KI.KA (children's channel; daytime only), ZDFdokukanal (ZDF documentary channel; nighttime only).

ZDF does not run any transmitters itself. Throughout the analogue days, all of the ZDF transmitters had been run by the Deutsche Bundespost which was later privatized as Deutsche Telekom's subsidiary T-Systems Media Broadcast. (This is in contrast to the other public German broadcaster, ARD, which owns its main transmitters.) Due to recent laws, the ZDF had not been allowed to use ARD's transmitters. As the law has changed in the 1990s, since the digital switchover the ZDF uses both ARD and Telekom transmitters.


ZDF has also been relayed by cable since the days of the first cable pilot projects.


The first Europe-wide satellite broadcast via Astra 1C began in August 1993 during the Internationale Funkausstellung Berlin (IFA - "International Broadcasting Exhibition") in Berlin. In the same decade, these new technologies were used to enable the start of digital broadcasting of ZDF. Today, ZDF is available free-to-air throughout Europe.

Other ZDF channels

ZDF also operates the channels "KI.KA", "arte", "3sat" and "Phoenix" in cooperation with other networks. Included in its digital offering ZDFvision are the channels "ZDFdokukanal", "ZDFinfokanal" and "ZDFtheaterkanal". Today ZDF is Europe's largest television network.


ZDF's animated station identity mascots, the "Mainzelmännchen" (a play with the words "Mainz" and "Heinzelmännchen", the latter meaning "brownies" (elves) in German), created by Wolf Gerlach in 1963, quickly became very popular and are still shown in between commercials.In 1976 graphic designer Otl Aicher made a corporate design for ZDF.


Administratively ZDF is headed by a director general ("Intendant"), who is elected by the ZDF Television Council, the composition of which is in turn determined by the "societally relevant groups" named in the ZDF contract. Since the founding of the network in 1963, the following have held the office of "Intendant":

*1963 - 1977: Karl Holzamer
*1977 - 1982: Karl-Günter von Hase
*1982 - 2002: Dieter Stolte
*since 2002: Markus Schächter


ZDF was admitted as a full active member of the European Broadcasting Union in 1963.


*Aktenzeichen XY... ungelöst
*The Bold And The Beautiful ("Reich & Schön")
*Derrick (cancelled)
*Ein Fall für Zwei
*heute (Newscast)
*Der Kommissar (cancelled)
*The Old Fox ("Der Alte")
*Veronica Mars
*Wetten, dass..?
*The Young And The Restless ("Schatten der Leidenschaft")
*Jack Holborn (1982 mini-series)
*RockpopAudience share (March 2008): 13.4%, from 14-49 years 7.1%.


*Die größten Musical Hits ("The Greatest Musical Hits")

External links

* [http://www.zdf.de/ Official Site] de icon
* [http://www.zdf.com/ ZDF's English language website]

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