RTL, originally known as RTL plus from 1984 to 1992 and then as RTL Television from 1992 to 2004, is the biggest commercial free-to-air TV station in Germany and the flagship channel of Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland, the leading commercial broadcaster in Germany (it it still sometimes referred to as ‘RTL Television’ within Germany). RTL, VOX and RTL II are the network's three biggest entertainment channels, and their main competitors are ProSieben, Sat.1 and kabel eins from the ProSiebenSat.1 Media network.
- For the newer German TV channel called RTLplus, launched in 2016, see RTLplus.
RTL Television was launched on 2 January 1984 as RTL plus. Upon its launch, the channel had two launch identities with two logos used for an on-screen collaboration.
- Its first launch identity consisted of a lined squircle that contains the letters "R", "T", and "L" from the famous "RTL" wordmark-logo's custome as well as the word "PLUS" appears at the bottom of the "RTL" wordmark, and that the word "PLUS" is using an more-abstract typeface instead of a normal typeface. This logo were in usage for 4 years from 2 January 1984 until 31 December 1987.
- Its second launch identity consisted of a red circle that bears the word "RTL" in its uppercase-style, with the word "plus" in its lowercase-style appears at the bottom of the "RTL" wordmark, as well as an tweaked-up rectangle is at the bottom of the circle and carries the word "TELEVISION" at it. Its second launch identity is short-lived.
1988–1992Sat.1 and positioning itself as a general channel, while also introducing a new logo. A new set of idents which was launched onto the screen, they were produced by On/Off Productions.
The idents were designed to reflect the feel of the channel. Specific references to the content were to be avoided. Therefore the idents feature different abstract objects that move around in different semi-surreal compositions. Although completely computer-generated, the objects are made of natural materials that you should want to touch and feel. However, the word "plus" was removed from the logo sometime between 1988 and 1992.
On-screen, the logo was usually transparent with outlines between letters, but during just a few months in 1988, it was colored and thus without outlines.
RTLplus became RTL Television in December 1992, though in the bumpers and promos it was known simply as RTL. The new logo and graphics were created by the Los Angeles-based company GRFX/Novocom.
The word ‘Television’ was removed from the logo in 2004; the channel was hereafter referred to as simply RTL. The famous tagline Mein RTL (‘my RTL’) was introduced, as well as the trademark four-note jingle (B E D♯ E) which has remained to the present day, but some idents used a three-note jingle (C G D).
In July 2015, the channel introduced the slogan Willkommen zuhause (Welcome Home) to complement Mein RTL, and launched its biggest advertising campaign in 20 years. This tagline (as Willkommen zu Hause, with a space between zu and Hause) was earlier used in the early 2000s. (The English slogan Welcome home was used by Australia’s Nine Network until 2017.)
- DWDL.de (German)
On 1 September 2017, RTL flattened its logo, with brighter shades of the three colours in its logo and shadows of the three letters. This was done in order to have a friendlier look for the audience. The Mein RTL slogan was not retired, but Willkommen zuhause is used in idents without Mein RTL.
RTL UHD was launched on 28 April 2018 on SES’s HD+ platform, thereby being the first German TV channel to launch a permanent UHD feed. The channel shows films, series and live sports in ultra-high resolution, including all Formula 1 races, international football matches and selected games of the UEFA Europa League. Later, Sky Deutschland and Telekom Deutschland’s MagentaTV platform added the channel.
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