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RTL Klub
CountryHungary
Broadcast areaHungary, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia
Headquarters1222 Budapest, Nagytétényi út 29. (Media Center Campona)
Programming
Language(s)Hungarian
Picture format1080i (HD)
576i (SD)
Ownership
OwnerRTL Group
ParentRTL Magyarország
Key peopleGabriella Vidus, CEO
Dr. Péter Kolosi, Programming Director
Sister channelsCool TV
RTL II
Film+
RTL Gold
Sorozat+
RTL+
Muzsika TV
History
Launched7 October 1997; 24 years ago (1997-10-07)
Links
Websitertl.hu/rtlklub
Availability
Terrestrial
MinDig TVChannel 7 (SD)

RTL Klub is a Hungarian free-to-air television channel owned by RTL Group. The channel began broadcasting three days after its main rival TV2, one of Hungary's first commercial TV channels.

History

Since its start, RTL Klub has focused to gain viewers from the urban population. The channel airs programs mostly for a younger (18-49) audience.

RTL Klub rebranded again in early September 1999. The idents consists of two elements (fire and water), with the eye motif being introduced for the first time.

On 17 December 2001, RTL Klub adapted another new identity, designed by Dogfish and focuses on people which then zoom into their eyes.

RTL Klub and TV2 aired two similar major reality series simultaneously. While TV2 purchased the rights of Big Brother, RTL Klub produced its own series called Való Világ (Real World). Való Világ had three seasons between 2002 and 2004. Since its second season the show has been much more successful than the rival Big Brother.

RTL Klub is the most watched TV channel in Hungary since 2002, thanks to the daily Hungarian soap opera Barátok közt (Among Friends), which is the most watched TV programme in Hungary with more than 2 million viewers; the tabloid magazine Fókusz (Focus) and the game show Legyen Ön is milliomos (Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?). Millionaire is off the schedule from September 2007 after seven years and has replaced by A Széf (Take It Or Leave It).

Before these idents were introduced, three teasers featuring Naná (the mascot that appeared on most idents itself, usually walking and enclosed in a dark red circle) would air during commercial blocks from late March 2003 until the moment when these idents would be eventually introduced on April 19 that year. These idents sometimes featured short 2D and 3D animations involving Naná itself. This was the last identity package with the "coloured" on screen bug, the next package had it changed into transparent gray.

From the fall-winter season of 2005–2006, RTL Klub has started to broadcast popular American TV shows like Lost. The first episode of Lost had almost 2 million viewers, and a 50% share. This was a record. The next year Prison Break started with almost 1.6 million. Nowadays a TV show at prime time (21:00) can reach 1-1.5 million viewers. In season 2006–2007 Prison Break was the most watched American series in Hungary.

From the fall season of 2007, RTL Klub has launched two new formats with great success. Poker Face ran like a tournament for six weeks with an average 38-42% share. The other new show was Csillag születik, the Hungarian version of the RTL Got Talent format. Poker Face ended with the super final at 18 December and the time slot of it will be occupied by the new game show A Széf (Take It or Leave it).

RTL Klub was the only licensed broadcaster of Formula One in Hungary from 2002 until 2011. After 10 years RTL decided not to renew the licence for Formula 1. The reason was that they wanted to concentrate mainly for the prime time programs because of the shrinking advertising market.[1]

RTL Klub changed its graphics package once again, at 19:00 CET of 24 December 2005, just after the end of RTL Híradó that day. For the first time in its history, the logo but stopped being colourful as it became light gray.

RTL Klub has been the only licensed broadcaster of Domino Day in Hungary, for 6 years (2004–2009).

RTL Klub introduced a new graphics package on 1 June 2008 at 16:30 CET, just before a commercial break during a simulcast of a horse race. The package features the FF DIN Condensed typeface. (Its main competitor TV2 used the non-condensed version of FF DIN from 2008 to 2020). The idents were designed by the team of the Argentinian television channel Punga TV. They were consisted of concrete blocks flying across the screen, against a backdrop of Hungarian landmarks or the Hungarian countryside, until they eventually formed the letters RTL (with KLUB in a much smaller font below). On its first day, the 2005–2008 on-screen bug was retained, but it was changed to a lighter but the next day, with the new appearing and disappearing "animations".

From 2010, RTL Klub started with 2 winning formats. First of all the channel after 6 years absence successfully relaunched the Való Világ franchise. VV4 ran with a 40% SHR among 18-49 demographic.[2] Secondly they purchased the rights of television talent show The X Factor. The show ran with a 50% SHR[3] among 18-49 demographic which is really high on the Hungarian television market. The Factor crashed the competitor talent show on TV2 so "Megasztár" left the time slot of The X Factor after a few episodes. Because of the success of both format, RTL Klub renewed both show for the 5th and 2nd season respectively. They started in the fall season of 2011.

To celebrate its 20th anniversary, RTL Klub rebranded for the first time in nine years, on 2 October 2017 at 04:00 CET. This was a major overhaul for the channel as its old graphics package, which was dominated by grey and fluorescent colours, was replaced by a vibrant multicoloured graphics package.

Programming

Current

Series name Hungarian title Current season/Last aired season
Arrow A zöld íjász 2nd
Bones Dr. Csont 9th
Breaking Bad Totál szívás 3rd
Castle Castle 5th
Cobra 11 Cobra 11 18th
Criminal Minds Gyilkos elmék 8th
CSI CSI: A helyszínelők 8th
CSI: Miami CSI: Miami helyszínelők 10th
CSI: NY CSI: New York-i helyszínelők 2nd
Dallas Dallas 1st
Damages A hatalom hálójában 3rd
Deutschland 83 Volt egyszer két Németország 1st
Esperanza mía Isten áldjon, Esperanza! 1st
Fringe A rejtély 3rd
Gossip Girl Gossip Girl – A pletykafészek 2nd
Grey's Anatomy Grace klinika 8th
Muhteşem Yüzyıl Szulejmán 3rd
One Tree Hill Tuti gimi 8th
Primeval Őslények kalandorai 3rd
Revolution Revolution 1st
Sons of Anarchy Kemény motorosok 3rd
Supernatural Odaát 6th
The Closer A főnök 6th
The Following Gyilkos hajsza 1st
The Glades Glades – Tengerparti gyilkosságok 3rd
The Mentalist A mentalista 6th
The Tudors Tudorok 3rd
The Vampire Diaries Vámpírnaplók 2nd
True Justice Igazságosztók 1st

Original programming

Former

Series name Hungarian title Comment
Alias Alias
Big Shots Nagyágyúk
Burn Notice Minden lében négy kanál moved to RTL2 after 1st season
Chuck Chuck moved to Cool TV after the 1st season
Cold Case Döglött akták
Day Break Időbe zárva
Dirty Sexy Money Édes, drága titkaink
Doctor Who Ki, vagy, doki? Series 1 & 2 only
Dollhouse Dollhouse – A felejtés ára
Dragon Ball Dragon Ball
Dragon Ball Z Dragon Ball Z also on Viasat 6
E-Ring Titkos Küldetés
ER Vészhelyzet
Glee Glee – Sztárok leszünk! cancelled after first season
Human Target Tökéletes célpont
Invasion Rejtélyek városa
Jo Jo, a profi
Joan of Arcadia Isteni sugallat
Journeyman Az utazó
Kingdom Hospital A félelem kórháza
Kung Fu: The Legend Continues Kung-fu
Legend of the Seeker A hős legendája
Lie to Me Hazudj ha tudsz
Lost Lost – Eltűntek last season was not aired
Martial Law A harc törvénye
Missing Eltűntnek nyilvánítva
Point Pleasant Titkok Városa
Prison Break A szökés
Private Practice Doktor Addison only the first 2 seasons were aired
Rescue Me Ments meg!
Rome Róma
Sailor Moon Varázslatos Álmok Last season not aired
Tatort Tetthely cancelled after 1st season
Sue Thomas: F.B.Eye Sue Thomas: F.B.Eye
Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles Terminátor: Sarah Connor krónikái moved to Cool TV after 1st season
The Secrets of Eden Az Edèn Titkai cancelled after 1st season
The Big Bang Theory Agymenők only the first 2 seasons were aired
The Finder Csont nélkül
The Nine Kilenc túsz
The Shield Kemény zsaruk
The Sopranos Maffiózók
The Unit Az egység
Third Watch Harmadik műszak
Transporter: The Series A szállító
Traveler Traveler – Az utolsó vakáció
Tru Calling Tru Calling – Az őrangyal
Will & Grace Will és Grace

Former original programming

Criticism and controversy

Programming and content

Being a commercial channel, RTL Klub broadcasts an important number of populist- and tabloid-skewed shows and, specially, a high proportion of light entertainment and reality television shows. As a result, many of its contents have been criticised by some media circles. In 2018, the Hungarian General Court and media regulators NMHH imposed a fine of up to HUF 143 million (€440,000) due to unappropiate content shown on the fourth season of popular show Való Világ, broadcast in 2010, returning after a six-year hiatus.[4] Such unappropiate content included graphic imagery which did not adhere to the rating assigned to the show, as well as undisclosed product placement.

Many of its fiction series have also received criticism, both political and moral. Popular comedy-drama series A mi kis falunk (A Little Village), has received high ratings during its four seasons; however, it has been heavily criticized by many viewers and critics due to its storylines, which reflect the life stereotypes of many rural and popular Hungarian villages. It has also received condemnation from right-wing and far-right nationalists for supposed misbehaviour; for example, MEP Krisztina Morvai openly complained about the show when, during the summer of 2011, when she was on vacation, the show recorded portions of a storyline on the Pilis Mountains, which far-right government members and sympathizants have come to call it a miracle place where "the heart of the Earth beats", as told by Kata Jurák, editor of pro-government newspaper Magyar Idők.[5]

Its informational content has also received heavy criticism. Its newscasts have emphasized crime and human interest stories, sensationalistic reporting, a faster-paced format, heavy use of graphics and visuals, and on-the-scene coverage. Its newsmagazine Fokusz has also received criticism, due to its mix of stories rotated around controversial issues and entertainment news. However, after 2014, the station's informational content, including its main evening news, has been including more political and serious news, improving its reputation over media critics and gaining credibility with viewers.[6]

Editorial stance

RTL Klub has been critical of the Fidesz-KDNP government since it was sworn in to power in 2010. It is one of a small number of TV stations critical of it, including competitors ATV and N1 TV. The station began to have a serious impasse with the government in 2014, when such coalition announced the proposal of an advertising tax of up to 50% of the advertising revenue of any commercial TV station in Hungary. Many political opponents denounced that such law was targeted directly to the RTL stations, and, specially, RTL Klub.[7] The station reacted by including, in its main news, more political stories, often very critical of Víktor Orbán and the right-wing coalition.[6] RTL Group even threatened to sue the government in front of the International Court of Justice.[8]

This led to an increasing menacing rhetoric between both sides, until such dispute was resolved in early 2015, when the government toned down its rhetoric and cancelled the controversial tax proposal, mainly due to pressure from European Union, German and Luxembourgian politicians and government officials.[9][10] This resulted on the dismissal of longtime group CEO Dirk Gerkens, which was eventually snapped by its biggest competitor (and pro-government station) TV2.[11] In order to protect the station's independence from the Orbán government, RTL Group moved the licenses of its Hungarian pay-TV stations to the Luxembourgian media watchdog, like most of its sister European TV ventures.[12] RTL Klub is still broadcast under a license from the NMHH media council.

Although the station is still critical of the Fidesz-KDNP coalition, it has since toned down its aggressive rhetoric, but, at the same time, it has beefed up its informational programming, by adding more analytic and debate shows, including the debate show Magyarul Balóval (Baló's Hungary), hosted by former MTV political analyst and academic lecturer György Baló, which debuted in February 2015, and aired for four years until suddenly ending in early 2019, in an amicable decision related to György's need to undergo medical treatment for pancreatic cancer, to which he would succumb in March. The show was also accused of being unfavourable towards Orbán and his government,[13] but it has been praised for inviting a diversity of representatives from political parties across the National Assembly. Its daily news broadcast has also received more praise and higher ratings due to its fact-based, but critical reporting on the government actions, alongside balancing the content focus of the station's newscast, often tabloid- and infotainment-skewed,[6] as well as an improved on-air design. The station also made some international headlines when an interview made by the Financial Times to Hungarian-American billionaire investor George Soros, which has been falsely accused of corruption and antisemitism by the coalition government, was translated and portions of it broadcast on an edition of the main evening news in November 2017.[14]

Hungarian anti-LGBT law and effects on programming

After the passing of the controversial Hungarian anti-LGBT law, RTL Klub staunchly opposed these legislative amendments. Through a publicly-broadcast statement during its evening news broadcast (the station's most popular broadcast), the broadcaster not only expressed its objection to the law, which "seriously violates freedom of expression", but also reinforced "its commitment to the protection of children and families" by addressing the law "would effectively exclude sexual minorities from the mass media, making it impossible to combat negative stereotypes in society." RTL Klub also listed a number of series and films to which the channel produces and/or has the rights to broadcast, including many episodes of the popular Barátok közt soap opera (which was, at that time, broadcasting its final season) and the Harry Potter film franchise, which would be affected by the law. As a result of the legislation, such series and films must be broadcast after midnight and classified as 18+, which the broadcaster also opposes staunchly.[15][16] Additionally, all commercial breaks became subject to the Hungarian content rating system.

As a result, promotional material for the station's programming has been gradually complying with the controversial law. The broadcaster removed an advertisement of their Barátok közt final season campaign, which depicted a gay marriage broadcast during the 2018 season. Instead of replacing the image, RTL Klub placed a statement condemning the passing of the legislation and asking viewers to support their stance by tuning in to the grand finale of the long running soap opera.[17] The station's news programming also began to feature critical reporting on the effects of the law,[18] and the RTL Klub DOG was modified to include the rainbow flag into the station's logo.

Sister TV channels

RTL Klub has many sister channels. One of the owners of RTL Klub was "IKO Kábeltévé Kft.", which owned Cool, Film+, Sportklub (which ceased on 30 April 2016), Sportklub+ (which is a non-airing channel since 15 October 2009), DoQ (which closed on 31 March 2019), F&H, Sorozat+, Poén! (which became Prizma on 20 December 2010 and RTL+ on 1 May 2014), Reflektor (which closed on 31 December 2012) and Film+ 2 (which was replaced by RTL Gold on 3 July 2017), all of which are in some way related to IKO's primary channel, RTL Klub. In July 2011, RTL Group acquired seven TV channels from IKO Kábeltévé (Cool, Film+, Film+ 2, Prizma TV, Sorozat+, Reflektor TV, Muzsika TV). Tematic Cable Entertainment bought Sportklub, DoQ and F&H in 2013 from the RTL Group. Prizma TV airs since 1 May 2014 as RTL+.

Cool

Originally Cool had the target audience of 15-29 urban youths who love music, externals, clothes, trendy lifestyle and extravagance. The channel was launched on 15 September 2003 and it is available in 2.5 million households.[19] The channel is on a 24/7 broadcast schedule, targeting audience not only during the day, but during the night as well. Cool airs reruns of series RTL Klub originally purchased or produced as well as series targeting today's youth. These include: South Park, Married... with Children (Egy rém rendes család), 24, Footballer's Wives (Futbalista feleségek), The L Word (L), Queer as Folk (A fiúk a klubból), The Unit (Az egység), Dead Like Me (Haláli hullák), Weeds (Spangli), Skins (Skins), Desperate Housewives (Született feleségek)

In 2007, Cool launched a series of topical shows produced by the channel, such as Cool Live and Cool Night, featuring younger hosts lent to Cool by RTL Klub. The earlier is a youth lifestyle show, and the latter is an adult show including interviews with Hungarian porn stars and producers, as well as occasionally shown soft-core video clips. As of 29 September 2013, these talk shows are cancelled.

In 2009, Cool purchased the airing rights of the successful Hungarian version of Whose line is it anyway?, Beugró.

On 30 August 2010, Cool rebranded, opening for a wider audience. Since then the channel airs mostly crime procedurals like the CSI franchise, Bones, Castle, Cobra 11, The Mentalist, etc. The move was successful because as of July 2012, Cool TV is the third watched commercial TV channel, and most watched cable channel in Hungary (target audience 18–49, prime time 19.00-23.00), beating main competitor Viasat 3.[20]

On 1 December 2014, Cool rebranded to its current ident package, and from 1 January 2015 onwards, the channel is available in HD too.

Film+

Film+ was launched on 15 September 2003, the same time as Cool. The channel airs movies which previously aired on RTL Klub 24/7. According to the 2012 Hungarian television ratings, Film+ is the third-most-watched cable channel in Hungary.[21] Due to the early success of the channel, the parent company launched Film+ 2, which aired movies in the same fashion as Film+, but it closed on 3 July 2017 to make way for RTL Gold, a channel which airs old episodes of RTL Klub's old game shows and talkshows.

The channel is available in HD since New Year's Day 2015.

RTL Gold

Film+ 2 was a non-violent family channel. It launched on 2 April 2008. This movie channel was devoted partly to female audiences, and partly to family films during the evenings and weekends. It offered comedies, romantic films, adventures and dramas. In the RTL cable portfolio, Film+ 2 was the channel that broadcasts most Hungarian films.

It closed down on 3 July 2017 to make way for RTL Gold.

Sportklub

Sportklub was launched on 2 January 2006. RTL Klub purchased the broadcasting rights of the FIFA World Cup 2006 but it didn't have enough airing time for all of the matches, and therefore Sport Klub was launched by the parent company to fill in. Sportklub aired various sport activities, such as the French and Italian football league (as partner of Digi Sport), tennis, poker, NCAA, athletics, futsal and box. The channel reran the Formula-1 broadcast of the parent channel to 2011. It aired certain matches of the English and the Spanish league, however its main competitors, the sports channels run by the Hungarian public service television MTV, Sport1 and Sport2, have the first pick of the matches they would like to air. To ease up the load on Sportklub, the parent company also launched Sportklub+ in September 2007, which aired sports events deemed to attract less viewers than the parent channel, but it closed on 15 October 2009.

Sportklub closed down in Hungary on 30 April 2016.

Sportklub is also available in countries close to Hungary in which countries IKO also operates, including Romania, Poland, Serbia, Croatia and Slovenia.

RTL II

In September 2011, RTL Klub started a project named RTL2 to launch a new RTL channel in Hungary. In April, 2012 it was announced, that RTL will launch RTL II in September or in October with I Love Gjoni (reality show); Who Wants To Be a Millionaire? (Hungarian version) and Heti Hetes (weekly comedy show on Sunday nights).

In July 2012, something started to promoted on RTL Klub with these sentences: The Life is Nice (Hungarian: Az élet szép.), The Sky is Blue (Az ég kék.), The Grass is Green (A fű zöld.), but it wasn't mentioned that these ads are advertising something. In September 2012, it was revealed that these ads advertised RTL2, the new commercial television channel what will launch on October 1, 2012, and it will replace Reflektor TV. In September, it suddenly became an Internet meme but bloggers and net users were disappointed when they got know the promotion is about "just" a new TV channel.

At the launch the prime-time schedule of RTL II included series: Modern Family, White Collar, Terra Nova, Journeyman, The Forgotten, Chase, shows moved from RTL Klub: Who Wants to be a Millionaire and Heti Hetes and a new magazine Forró nyomon.

RTL+

It launched as Poén! on 2 April 2008, then it was renamed as Prizma on 20 December 2010. Prizma's focus was on entertainment and its purpose was to provide something attractive for each generation. Most of its programming consisted of beloved familiars, but there were some new audience favourites, too. It airs as RTL+ since 1 May 2014.

Sorozat+

Sorozat+ is the channel for fans of series – for those who live in anticipation of the next episode. Sorozat+ offers something for each member of the family, from Latin-American telenovelas to top US series. It launched on 2 April 2008.

Muzsika TV

Muzsika TV is a music channel that offers a mix of traditional and modern pieces, featuring the greatest stars of folk and pop music as well as operettas and musicals. It launched on 6 November 2009.

References

  1. ^ "A Forma-1-ről is lemond az RTL" (RTL gives up Formula 1 rights) October 24, 2011.
  2. ^ Est.hu "Való Világ 4: Töretlen siker" (VV4: Great success) January 15, 2011.
  3. ^ Est.hu [1] "Az X-Faktor megeszi a Megasztárt reggelire" (The X Factor eats Megasztár for breakfast)] September 7, 2010.
  4. ^ "Hungary's RTL Klub loses legal battle". November 2018.
  5. ^ "TV comedies threaten the intellectual values of the nation". 31 August 2018.
  6. ^ a b c "RTL Klub's Híradó: The most popular evening news in Hungary". 29 June 2015.
  7. ^ "The war is on: RTL Klub and the Orbán government". 12 June 2014.
  8. ^ "RTL to sue in Hague court – BBJ".
  9. ^ "The Orbán government and RTL Group: A cease-fire?". 29 January 2015.
  10. ^ Gulyas, Margit Feher and Veronika (2014-07-28). "EU Commissioner: New Hungarian Tax Aimed at Chasing Broadcaster RTL Away". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2020-12-24.
  11. ^ "Gerkens to head up TV2". 11 November 2015.
  12. ^ "RTL moves Hungarian channels to Luxembourg". 28 November 2014.
  13. ^ "Az RTL új frontot nyit: Februártól indul Baló György saját műsora".
  14. ^ "George Soros's messages and the Hungarian government's reactions". 22 November 2017.
  15. ^ "13 uniós tagállam közös nyilatkozatban ítélte el a szerintük melegellenes, úgynevezett pedofiltörvényt". rtl.hu (in Hungarian). 23 June 2021. Retrieved 2021-07-07.
  16. ^ Balogh, Eva S. (2021-06-14). "Ramifications of the Hungarian bill on pedophilia". Hungarian Spectrum. Retrieved 2021-07-07.
  17. ^ "Melegházasságot mutató részletet plakátolt ki az RTL Klub, most le kell takarniuk". 24.hu (in Hungarian). 2021-07-07. Retrieved 2021-07-07.
  18. ^ "Több a homofób támadás". rtl.hu (in Hungarian). 18 July 2021. Retrieved 2021-08-20.
  19. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-11-01. Retrieved 2012-07-15.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  20. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-06-05. Retrieved 2012-09-08.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  21. ^ "Csatornanézettség – 2012: Az 50 legnézettebb hazai tévéadó". 28 February 2013.