According to the European Audiovisual Observatory’s MAVISE database there are more than 280 children’s television channels established in the European Union, and approximately 320 in wider Europe. Only 21 children’s channels are part of the public service broadcasting system, while almost 300 are private.
Some of the major expansions took place between 2006 and 2010 with the spread of Disney, Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon and Boomerang brands throughout Europe.
More than 80 channels are focused on national markets. While there are not many public children’s channels, KIKA (in Austria and Germany), Ketnet, La Trois (in Belgium), DR Ramasjang (in Denmark), Clan TVE (Spain), Gulli (France), CBBC (United Kingdom), RAI Yoyo (Italy), and SVBT in Sweden are in most cases the most popular children’s channels in their respective countries.
Certain national channels are very widely distributed in Europe, such as the German channels Super RTL (in 19 European Countries) and KIKA (17 countries), the French Tiji (in 7 countries) and the Italian channel RAI Gulp (7 countries).
The most important of the pan-European brands are Disney (63 channels), Nickelodeon (44), Cartoon Network (29) and Boomerang (21) who have various channels and a large number of linguistic variations throughout Europe. These channels are from the major US media groups Time Warner, The Walt Disney Company and Viacom.
Regarding popularity with children’s audiences, the Disney Channel scores highest in Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovenia, while it is in second place in Denmark, Spain, the UK, Portugal and Sweden. The Nickelodeon channels score highly in Austria, Belgium, Greece, Ireland and the Netherlands. Other significant pan-European brands include Baby TV, Duck TV, Kidsco and JimJam.
It is not surprising that the channels most likely to appear on the free DTT networks in Europe are those of the public service channels. These include the public children’s channels in Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Spain, Sweden and the UK There are also some private channels available for free in Germany, Spain the UK and Italy.
On the pay DTT networks, a wide range of private children’s channels are available in a total of 14 countries (Belgium, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, Latvia, Malta, “the Former Yugoslav republic of Macedonia”, the Netherlands and Sweden).
The MAVISE database also includes on-demand services (since May 2013). At the national level, a variety of on-demand audiovisual services for children are provided by cable operators such as Belgacom, Telenet and UPC (both part of Liberty Global), Numericable and Zon, and also operators like Canal+ in Poland. Most other services are from traditional broadcasters, including the public service broadcasters in Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, and the UK.
At the pan-European level the most important pan-European channels such as Disney, Nickelodeon, JimJam, Boomerang, and Cartoon Network all have many on-demand services targeting different European countries. The majority of these are registered in the UK.