ZLIN: Executive Director of the Czech Television Petr Koliha talked exclusively to FNE about the success and future or the Déčko children's channel.
ČT Déčko is a Czech national television channel, operated by public broadcaster Czech TV, specialising in children's content designed for young viewers 4 to 12 years of age. The channel began broadcasting on 31 August 2013, with Petr Koliha as its first executive director. The channel produced over 100 original programmes and aired 95; 121 hours through the end of 2017. The channel doesn't air any advertising and co-operates with the European Broadcasting Union and the European Children's Film Association. In 2013 the channel noted 17.43% of the market share in the group of 4-12 year olds and in 2017 it held a 28% share in the same group, making it the leader in channels offering content for younger viewers in the Czech Republic. FNE’s conversation with Koliha follows. FNE: What do you consider to be the channel’s biggest success? Petr Koliha: We started broadcasting this channel 5 years ago. Before launching, I prepared the project for one year. The reason for our success is maybe the continuation of the tradition of Czechs producing children programmes starting in the 1960’s. I like to say that in my opinion Czechs have some talent for children’s programmes. Now we are broadcasting 14 hours every day from 6 AM to 8 PM. We offer our children animated films, cartoons – and we have huge tradition in this genre. But the future is the live action series, that we just started producing, after many years because it was interrupted by our Velvet Revolution. It was a question of getting the money and finding the talent. We just introduced the Crime Story 5 series here in Zlin. Lately we've prepared The Sert series and I can't say much yet but it will be fantastic. We try to give our channel educational content. We can’t be a school, but we can make them keen on math, astrology and everything we have in our programming. We have more than 10 children’s channels in the Czech language. Our channel is educational without ads and without some dangerous information. Parents love it and that is why they support us. It is also about creativity. We now have a huge amount of production; 30 % of what we air now is our original production and we try to include 20% of new production every year. The remaining 70 % comes from the public broadcaster BBC. FNE: How did the channel develop over the last five years? Petr Koliha: Before we started we worked for over a year and planned a lot of projects. And it is fantastic that we managed to make maybe 85 % of them. We created a good and sophisticated project. We have increased our market share every year. Now we have almost 30% from the target group of 4 to 12 and we divided this target group into 2 groups: from 4 to 8 and from 8 to 12. Everyday in the Czech Republic for every 3 minutes we have 28,0000 viewers, this was our goal and we made it. After 3 years I wanted to be in the 3rd place in the Czech Republic and we did it! FNE: What is the direction for the future? Petr Koliha: Everything is changing very fast. We are trying to do more educational programmes. Right now we are focusing on teaching our viewers different languages – English, French, Spanish. You need to find a way to do it with children because if they hear the word "educational" they are frightened. You have to be more sophisticated. We try to be much more entertaining as well.