|Launched||1 January 1997|
|Owned by||ARD and ZDF|
|Picture format||1080i HDTV|
(downscaled to 16:9 576i for the SDTV feed)
|Audience share||1.4% (April 2017KEK),|
|Formerly called||Der Kinderkanal (1997-2000)|
|Digital terrestrial television||Multiplexes vary depending on location|
|Astra 1H (19.2°E)||11953.50 H 77 27500 3/4 (DVB-S)|
|Astra 1L (19.2°E)||11347.00 H 10 22000 2/3 (HDTV DVB-S2)|
|Kabel Deutschland||Channel 602 (SD) |
Channel 622 (HD)
|Telekom Entertain||Channel 10 (HD)|
|A1 TV (Austria)||Channel 29 (SD)|
KiKA (contraction of Der KinderKAnal von ARD und ZDF [The Children's Channel of ARD and ZDF]) is a German free-to-air television channel based in Erfurt, Germany. It is managed by a joint venture by public-service broadcastersARD and ZDF. Its intended audience is children and the youth, and it is generally watched by children 3 to 13.
The channel also repeats shows, such as Tabaluga tivi from ZDF's main service.
The channel uses live continuity announcers. Four of the most popular announcers were Juri Tetzlaff (1997-2010), Karsten Blumenthal (1997-2004), Singa Gätgens (1997-2010), and Lukas Koch (2003-2009).
In the channel's early years, the program consisted mostly of series and shows that were already being broadcast on ARD and ZDF. Whole programs were being broadcast simultaneously on the mother channels and the children's channel, for example the afternoon program of ZDF. KiKa showed German as well as international series, like cartoon classics from the 1970s and 80s (Heidi, Biene Maja, Wickie or Nils Holgersson). Classics of children's TV like film versions of Astrid Lindgren books or the Augsburger Puppenkiste were also regularly being broadcast.
There have been some changes in the programming in recent years. Although it had been one of the channel's original aims to broadcast both animated and live-action series, the former now predominate (85%). Apart from the numerous animated series, the afternoon soap opera Schloss Einstein is currently almost the sole live-action series in KiKA's lineup during the day. There are only two other live-action shows, one of which is aired in the afternoon and the other in the evening.
The channel sometimes offers continuous rebroadcasts of series that have come to an end. Similar to the procedure of private commercial stations, these series are broadcast as double features. But most of the older series, which had been repeatedly broadcast from 1997 to 2004, are currently excluded from the lineup. The fact that ARD and ZDF no longer own the appropriate broadcasting rights partly accounts for this.
The difference between the weekday and the weekend programming keeps vanishing steadily, since many series are aired daily. Thus some series, such as Pet Alien, Being Ian, and Jakers! The Adventures of Piggley Winks, are almost continually part of the programme.
Augsburger Puppenkiste, a rather old German television programme which had always been on the air on Saturday and Sunday mornings, ceased being broadcast on KiKA for four years but returned to the channel's lineup in April 2008. Many programmes, especially older series, such as Pan Tau, Pippi Longstocking, and Es war einmal, can be seen only on the ZDF and regional channels.
Two children's movies are aired on KiKA, on Fridays and Sundays; these are more often animated films rather than live-action films.