The 1984 introduction of private broadcasting in Germany eventually paid off for UFA in the long run: After ten years in existence, RTL and Sat.1 had grown regular audiences sizable enough that commercial slots brought in money. The networks then invested a portion of that income in programming innovations, be it in the interest of securing their established market position or in an effort to polish up private TV’s image with prestigious programming stimuli.
UFA profited from both strategies: they produced daily series for RTL in the 1990s, and at the turn of the millennium, they masterminded a new miniseries spectacular format for Sat.1 with the likes of DER TUNNEL (2001, directed by Roland Suso Richter) and DER TANZ MIT DEM TEUFEL (2001, directed by Peter Keglevic). Aside from that, the various subsidiaries had plenty of opportunity both for “bread and butter” business with ARD and ZDF, and for a long-term expansion into the European TV market. These years saw UFA tapping cinema markets on the side at best: the made-for-TV movie DIE POLIZISTIN (WDR 2000, directed by Andreas Dresen) was “recycled” in theaters a year after being broadcast.