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Culture

Watch What Germany Watches

Will German TV-hits be a hit in America? Popular German detective series, soap operas and talk shows will soon be available to American cable subscribers exclusively in German.

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Three TV bosses launch a new era in German broadcasting

On March 1, 2002 the overseas German language channel GERMAN TV was launched with great fanfare. Combining three of Germany’s public broadcasters, the new channel will enable cable TV subscribers in the US to receive the very best in German public broadcasting.

The new channel combines the programming of Deutsche Welle, ARD (Channel One) and ZDF (Channel Two). Starting April 8, 2002, German TV will broadcast 24 hours a day exclusively in German for an audience in the United States.

The wide variety of programs will offer comprehensive news from and about Germany, as well as documentaries and entertainment, including films, series, shows and sport programs.

Germany’s Minister for Culture, Julian Nida-Rümelin, attending the launching ceremony in Berlin said, "I hope, and I am speaking for the government and maybe I can also speak for parliament as a whole, that this project will be a success. We are all confident in it."

Deutsche Welle is chiefly responsible for administering the channel which will be produced on a daily basis at DW-TV’s broadcasting center in Berlin and transmitted in digital quality to the US. The channel is carried via the Globecast satellite. Subscribers will pay a monthly fee of 15 dollars to receive the program.

Initially, German TV will be financed by the German taxpayer. The government has set aside 5.1 million euro for the project. But within seven years time, the channel should be able to pay for itself with a target audience of at least 75,000 subscribers.

A recent survey conducted by the Deutsche Welle has shown that there are about 1 million households in the United States in which at least one person speaks German.

Of course the availability of the channel with its quality programming will also mean increased opportunities for German language learners. Unlike with Spanish, there are few opportunities for Americans to hear and practice their German.

If German TV proves successful in the United States, the three broadcasters and the government will consider expanding to other regions.

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