Director-Generals of German Public Broadcasters ARD, ZDF and DW Officially Launch Joint Project in Berlin - First Step into U.S. Pay-TV Market - Highlights Include Recaps of German First Division Soccer
The GERMAN TV Launch: (l. to r.) Dieter Stolte (ZDF), Fritz Pleitgen (ARD/WDR), Erik Bettermann (Deutsche Welle)
GERMAN TV is a leap in quality for the media presentation of Germany abroad and promises to provide a broad range of perspectives for the future, emphasized the Director-General of Deutsche Welle (DW), Erik Bettermann, the ARD Chairman and WDR Director-General, Fritz Pleitgen, and ZDF Director-General Prof. Dieter Stolte on March 1, 2002, in Berlin. The director-generals officially launched the joint ARD, ZDF and DW project in a festive act in the capital attended by the German Minister of State for Culture, Prof. Dr. Julian Nida-Rümelin.
GERMAN TV is a full, German-language television network offering a wide variety of "best-of" programming supplied by Germany's public broadcasting institutions. ARD and ZDF are each providing 40 percent of the programming. DW, which holds the broadcasting rights for GERMAN TV, will supply the remaining 20 percent. GERMAN TV has been on the air with a test program in its U.S. entry market since February 1st and will begin the regular, full program on April 8th. GERMAN TV will become a subscriber-only, PAY-TV network in May.
"See What Germany Sees - This motto for GERMAN TV is also our intention," said Erik Bettermann before guests from politics, business and the media at the unveiling of the overseas network at the Voltastrasse studios of DW-TV and GERMAN TV in Berlin. The jointly developed program scheme is a "terrific program," Mr. Bettermann said. Formats, like the classic German television news programs Tagesschau and heute journal, the DW-TV news program Journal, the talks shows of Sabine Christiansen and Johannes B. Kerner, Berlin Mitte and Boulevard Bio, fiction with the ARD detective series Tatort and ZDF's television movie - "this is quality television made in Germany and that is what GERMAN TV is all about," said Mr. Bettermann, "and that is why, even in the world's toughest media market, in the USA, it will be a success." For Deutsche Welle, Mr. Bettermann went on to say, GERMAN TV is also the strategic beginning of a longer term and closer cooperation with ARD and ZDF.
As an added highlight to the programming of GERMAN TV, the DW director-general underscored the up-to-date sports reporting from the German soccer league, the Bundesliga. Besides a regular 45-minute recap of the latest games shortly after they are played, there will also be an extra "pay per view" service for watching matches live in full-length transmissions.
GERMAN TV will be represented in the USA with top quality programming, stressed Fritz Pleitgen. "ARD and ZDF are providing their best programs - a representative cross section of quality public broadcasting," the ARD chairman said. The United States is also just the beginning. If all goes well, Canada and Latin America will follow later this year. "The aim is to be present and transmittable on every continent with GERMAN TV," Mr. Pleitgen said. "In these politically moving times and not just in the U.S., there is tremendous demand for independent, critical and reliable information from Europe, and especially from such an important country as Germany," Mr. Pleitgen said, adding that GERMAN TV was not only proof of the capabilities of public broadcasting, but also "a good thing for our country." During his recently completed trip to the United States, Mr. Pleitgen said he had "repeatedly discovered that the interest in this programming was extensive."
Dieter Stolte called GERMAN TV "an initiative that perhaps one day will be viewed as a classic example of cooperation in public broadcasting." He also added that there was "no need to shy away from comparing the speedy implementation and quality of the programs to be broadcast to private initiatives or private business models." GERMAN TV, the ZDF director-general said, was also "a contribution of German arts and culture to the outside and another important voice for Germany in the world." He emphasized that this alone justified the financial participation of the federal government. Prof. Stolte expressed the hope that the program would "find its way in future into many regions of the world."
Viewer potential in the United States, according to a market survey conducted for DW, is estimated at one million households in which at least one person speaks German. The study also revealed that there are about 2.5 million households in which at least one person understands German. With this solid foundation, the director-generals agreed, winning over 70,000 subscribers within seven years is a realistic goal.
March 1, 2002
Digital Pictures of the GERMAN TV Launch:
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As well as photos of:
* Erik Bettermann, Director General DW
* Fritz Pleitgen, Director General ARD
* Dieter Stolte, Director General ZDF
* Dr. Wolfgang Krüger, Programming Director GERMAN TV
* GERMAN TV, DW, ARD, ZDF
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