Monday, February 18, 2013

Germans and TV

There's an interesting survey that came out of Germany over the past week.  YouGov went and asked Germans how they felt about the TV-tax.  Frankly, the results were pretty much what you'd expect....a very negative view of the tax and it wasn't worth the money.

There was a very strong showing of comment over ARD and ZDF needing improvement.  The survey tended to show a negative view of the tax and where this was going.

For an American standing over German TV options....it's an interesting offering.

State-run TV (ARD, ZDF, and the twenty-odd channels under them....try to be all things.  The issue is that they really can't deliver a product that all generations of Germans appreciate.  So you have to pay careful attention to the schedule and settle for three or four shows a week that might be worth watching.

The commercial TV crowd?  RTL, SAT, ProSieben, RTL2, and the other various channels offer a fair amount of US programming, German reality TV, and tend to lead to the younger German population.  Most Germans over sixty rarely frequent these channels.

German cable or satellite will talk up the fact that a German family has close to a hundred channels now to watch (to include the CNN folks, some Austrian TV, and the sales channels).  You can toss in the travel networks, the religious channels, and all the oddball stuff leftover.

An American would admit after a while, that it's about the same situation in the US.....a bunch of channels with limited value, and you might flip on a 1956 cowboy movie because there's really not that much to select from.

What tends to make German society a little bit different....there are still some Germans who view the scheduled events for tonight, and simply turn the TV off, and then retreat to the garage to clean tools, or work up a sweat in the kitchen making unplanned muffins, or read two chapters out of a Mexican vacation murder mystery.

My present view is that the state-TV guys are working up a sweat.  More and more younger Germans are voicing negative views over the TV tax, and making this known to political parties.  Eventually....there will be enough hostility to the tax, and there's going to be a meeting with the state-TV folks over cutting the tax.  Someone....down the line....will have to give up a channel or two from the state-TV lineup.  The trend will continue over the years, and probably reshape German TV over the next two or three decades.

As for the German youth trend?  Delivery via the internet and Wi-Fi is increasing.  If I had to pick a culture that would adapt to personalized TV choices over the next twenty years....the German society would be the best choice to settle on.  It wouldn't surprise me if someone in Germany fixed up a daily soap-opera show....where each evening after the show....a poll would go out to ask where the next day's script ought to go, and give viewers their own choices. Dramatic and historical pieces will not be high in their priorities.

Finally, for those state-TV management folks.  I wish you luck, but it's a tough situation that you've brewed, and I don't see how the tax stays around for the indefinite future.

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