Online: Multimedia content in 30 languages | 60 years DW | DW | 02.05.2013
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60 years DW

Online: Multimedia content in 30 languages

In 1994, DW uploaded news stories, analysis and background reports to the Internet for the first time, becoming the first public broadcaster in Germany to go online. The beginning of a success story in the digital world.

digital world

digital world

These first steps were followed by a quick, consistent expansion. The new way for texts, audios and images to reach audiences soon became just as much of a priority as radio and television, particularly since it allowed direct communication with users. For DW, the Internet was an excellent means to reach new, young audiences. It was estimated that at that time around 30 million people in more than 100 countries were Internet users.

On July 1, 1996, DW presented its new online offerings, which had a new look as well: it now included news in German, which was updated hourly, as well as background reports, analysis, commentaries and a press review. At the same time, the German-language radio program was accessible via Livestream around the clock and work began on audio-on-demand programming, which included the German course "Deutsch- Warum nicht?" News in English, Spanish, Arabic, Russian and Portuguese for Brazil also went online. Within just a few months, DW doubled its online output, and soon afterward made all of its broadcast languages available on the web.

A virtual classroom for learning German

According to its chartered task to promote the German language, DW consistently seeks to further develop its virtual classroom. Language teachers and students can find interactive language courses with textbooks available for download, audio files for online learning and a telenovela.

The last relaunch of the website took place on February 6, 2012. In accordance with DW’s new corporate design, its web content became available at stands for reliable information from Germany and high-quality journalistic content in 30 languages. The modular concept and transparent interface will ensure that the website is perfectly prepared for the next Internet revolution.

A digital pioneer: podcasts, apps and the MediaCenter

DW is always at the forefront of digital innovation:

  • In 2004 DW became the first German public broadcaster to offer podcasts. Since then, users can listen to DW audio content whenever they want and wherever they are.
  • In 2005 DW went mobile. At users can access its multimedia content on mobile devices.
  • In 2005 DW was the first broadcaster in Germany to offer video podcasts.
  • In 2007 DW started its own YouTube channel and offered news as a Twitter feed for the first time.
  • In 2007 DW began systematically merging radio, television and online departments into multimedia teams.
  • In 2008 DW created its first Facebook page.
  • In 2009 DW was the first German public broadcaster to offer an iPhone app.
  • The MediaCenter was launched in 2010, offering multimedia content in German and English. Today it offers content in 14 languages.

Bypassing online censorship

While the Internet is an excellent platform for Deutsche Welle and other international broadcasters, many autocratic and authoritarian regimes see the web as a threat to their power. States like Iran and China block their citizens' access to alternative, external sources of information, interrupt the free flow of news, and attempt to suppress freedom of speech, Internet searches and online political activity. Still, DW's Persian Facebook page has been "liked" more than 150,000 times, and almost half the "likes" are from Iran. Farsi is DW's most successful site, generating 20 million hits per month. In order to bypass censorship more easily in the future, DW launched a pilot project using the anti-censorship software Psiphon for Farsi and Chinese, which makes DW's content available to users on the popular social networks.

The Bobs: a competition promoting freedom of expression

In light of increasing barriers to Internet access and interference by authorities, DW launched The Bobs (, its own international blog awards, in 2004. The awards aim to promote freedom of expression worldwide. In countries with limited freedom of the press, blogs with texts, photos, videos and audios have become one of the few ways for people to express opinions freely. The competition has expanded over the last 10 years, and now covers 14 languages: Arabic, Bengali, English, Farsi, French, German, Hindi, Indonesian, Portuguese for Brazil, Russian, Spanish, Turkish and Ukrainian.