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“A star is born” was 3sat’s first slogan in 1984, alluding to the revolutionary new satellite technology that made the new programme possible: Now 3sat celebrates its 30th anniversary.

It is the story of an extremely successful and cross-border cooperation: 30 years ago, German, Austrian and Swiss television producers began as experiments by the public broadcasters and have since combined their cultural know-how in a joint programme: 3sat.

Over a period of three decades, the visual cultural offerings of four broadcasters have shown in a drastically changing media landscape that quality exists! “3sat is more successful with viewers than ever before in its history. Also and especially in the rapidly growing media world, the concept of the quality programme has proven itself in the best possible way”, explains Dr. Gottfried Langenstein, Chairman of 3sat’s Management Board and Director of European Satellite Programmes at ZDF.

30 years of watching TV differently

The new satellite technology broke into the television market in the mid-1980s, for the first time the number of channels available for reception grew significantly and private television broadcasters were added. When the channel, which was founded by ZDF, ORF and the Swiss television company SRG, was launched on 1 December 1984, it was initially broadcast in an experimental operation, the 3sat Founding Fathers – ZDF Director-General Prof. Dr. h.c. – and was then followed up by a number of other broadcasters. Dieter Stolte, ORF General Director Gerd Bacher and SRG General Director Prof. Dr. Leo Schürmann – recognised, however, an opportunity in the TV project, which initially could only receive around 8,000 households: for the first time they created a joint programme for the German-speaking area. From then on, this programme was shown simultaneously in three countries.

Three decades have passed in which the cultural and knowledge program with its motto “watching television differently” has asserted itself on the media market. Today, the programme, which focuses on culture and science, has the best market shares in its history.