Wednesday, February 8, 2017

The Difference Between German Network News Choices

You can divide German TV news along a fairly simple line: commercial and state-run/public-TV.

With state-run/public-TV, your chief option is Channel One (ARD) or Channel Two (ZDF).  There are about a dozen sub-networks (regional stations) after those two, but their news production is strictly regional type news affecting the state or region.

With the state-run/public-TV option....your morning show is one single production which runs off ZDF and ARD.  I would say that it's a copy in some ways of the NBC Today Show format....short items, relaxed, and light on detail.  The show doesn't get into heavy details or drag viewers through some significant political chat business.

Throughout the day....both ZDF and ARD will have short 10-to-15 minute updates, via their own news staffs.

Around 7PM, ZDF will run a twenty-minute update segment, with weather at the end, and a short 1-to-2 minute sports update.  Around 9:45PM....ZDF will run an extended news piece....typically 25-to-30 minutes and feature more indepth reporting.

Around 8PM, ARD will run a 15-minute update segment, with weather at the end, and a short 1-minute sports update.  Somewhere around 10PM, a longer 25-to-30 minute segment will come up.

If you looking for 'national news'....then I'd take a guess that roughly 50-percent of the German population (adults) will normally catch the 8PM ARD segment.  The later and more indepth news segments?  They rarely if ever put out statisical data, but I would guess that only around 10-percent of the adult population watches the late news segments.

The appeal or slant of either of these two?  I'd say they have professional news teams.....highly educated (to the level of saying intellectual)....and they have decent graphic arts in the background (something that a decade ago would have been considered marginal).  The slant will revolve....sometimes, it's more than obvious....sometimes, it's strictly factual.  The worst comment you can suggest of the state-run/public-TV news is that the folks on the late news do a fair amount of eye-winking/eyebrow bending and pull hard on the strings to get you to think like them.

On the other spectrum?  The commercial networks?

Your options include N-24, N-TV, and OE24 (Austria's round-the-clock news).  These three run news all day long, and tend to be live for at least 12 hours out of day.  Personal opinions are rare with the's more of just plain blunt news, with more features on business and such.  All are delivered via cable or satellite.

The other networks....RTL, PRO7, Vox, and Sat1....offer some limited news throughout the day, and each has an evening telecast.  The best of the options?  RTL's Peter Kloeppel who delivers fairly compacted news piece Monday through Friday night, without any hype or political forums.  Kloeppel just gives you the blunt news.

If some event is unfolding minute by'd be better off catching N-24 or N-TV....rather than the state-run/public-TV crowd (just my humble opinion).  Over the past year, there's been three or four episodes that the commercial guys simply did a better job, and the public-TV folks screwed up in dramatic fashion.

The current anti-US/anti-Trump slant?  Commercial TV news?  From almost nothing to maybe 10 minutes a week.  State-run/public-TV at least two hours a week is consumed with news bits which feature the slant.  But I should note....even before November and the typically had 40 minutes a week of some type of anti-US slant between the two state-run/public-TV options.

When you get down to the absolute bottom....there's one simple difference between the two groups.  State-run/public-TV is an intellectually driven-product.  Commercially-produced TV mostly just blunt and pure news.  You can pretty much drive the general public choices by their attraction to blunt news or intellectually-driven news.

1 comment:

Jess Short said...

Good piece. I am horrified at the type of news produced by state run TV, they have a tendency to ramble on about an issue, all the while trying to influence you into seeing things their way. ???? Come to think of it, so does CNN, NBC, ABC, FOX, and CBS. The only place to find good unbiased reporting is here. :-)