Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Public TV Story

This week, ARD (Channel One, from German public-TV) had to come out and announce that they are cutting 370 jobs over the next three years.

Chief reason?  Less viewers, equal less advertising rates, equal less profits and operating revenue.  They kinda avoided admitting the first part....less viewers, but that's generally how you get a lesser rate on advertising rates.

A hardship for the network?  There are 22,650-odd employees presently with ARD, so it's not a big deal.  No one is going to be laid off in the'll just be retirements that occur and positions won't be filled.  HR will be pressed on hiring new talent out of the university system and just grin as they say 'no'.....leaving some wannabe journalists or TV show folks to sit and look more toward the commercial environment than public TV.

What happened to the viewers?  I've harped on this for several years.  Younger viewers have virtually zero interest in the programming of German public TV.  You can walk into a room of sixteen-year-old kids and find that maybe ten-percent do watch the nightly news and public-chat forums because of their intellectual curiosity, and another ten-percent might watch a handful of sports events.  Beyond that, the public-TV sector has a big problem with younger viewers (15-to-25 years old).

Competition from video-streaming assets (Netflix or Amazon)?  Yeah, that's part of the problem as well.  I would take a guess that 50-percent of the younger viewers are fairly adapted to the non-standard TV options now in Germany.

This effect on ARD?  Short-term.....I would expect in three years to see another 300-plus employee cut, and this might be a regular routine for the next decade, as they try to get lean and smart about a smaller team.

You might see more production deals where they team up with the BBC or Italian public TV to produce joint movies.

The critics of ARD?  There are generally two types of critics in've got the crowd who simply want the national TV tax to be tossed, and you've got the crowd who think devised programming scheme is a joke.  The second crowd will be the one to say that this trimming of personnel proves their point in that fewer people are watching the network.

So, that's the basic story to the whole public TV manpower episode.

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