German Public Television ARD and ZDF Take A Ratings Bloodbath

News magazine Stern here reports on the shocking woes of German flagship public television networks ARD and ZDF (Germany’s versions of the Beeb).Hat-tip reader DirkH

Face it, they’ve been spoiled over the decades by cushy, protected conditions and have grown arrogant – so much so that they feel it is their duty to politically upbring viewers. Call it unfair and unbalanced television in almost every respect.

It was just the other day that I happened to watch the evening news on ARD the first time in about 3 years. And I decided it will probably be another 3 years before I watch it again. I haven’t seen the lovely Mariette Slomka on ZDF in over 5 years. I just can’t take these people anymore.

So with the haughty, orthodox-green public networks profusely bleeding red, the private ones like RTL are left to plunder the spoils of the ratings war. Unless you live in Hugo Chavez’s Venezuela, privately run and financed TV is the trend.

How bad is it for ARD and ZDF? According to Stern:

Even more dismal are the numbers for the segment of 14 to 49-year olds: Here ARD and ZDF rank only in 5th and 6th behind RTL, ProSieben, Sat.1 and Vox. Should this trend continue, public television will stop playing any role in the future.”

Why the fall? Like anything that gets royally subsidized up the wazoo, it’s just a matter of time before the organization gets old, crusty, and uncreative. Like a fat cat on a cold rainy day, the management settles comfortably down onto its warm cushion for a long peaceful slumber. While the rest of the free market innovates and creates, the public networks eventually wake up and wonder what happened.

So, what will the public networks do now that they are forced to face the horrors of the free market? The first solution of course will be to first deny reality, and to make demands for more money in the form of higher mandatory, much-hated GEZ fees that citizens are all forced to cough up. “We just need a little more money to improve the quality,” they’ll insist.

Their hemorrhaging is both wonderful and bad. Bad because we’ll likely have to pay higher fees.

And they’ll probably start a massive media campaign to remind public how great they are, and that viewers really ought to come back. For example, this is already happening on NDR public radio.

What are the chances of a private network like Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News getting a foothold in Germany? Are you crazy! Oh horrors! A Fox News Deutschland would be 10 times worse than any Fukushima. The last thing the old media guard is interested in is “fair and balanced”, let alone an alley cat like Fox News.

Readers, how is public TV faring in your country?


11 responses to “German Public Television ARD and ZDF Take A Ratings Bloodbath”

  1. Ecotretas

    Public television in Portugal, in last position, amongst the 3 national channels…


  2. DirkH

    “…let alone an alley cat like Fox News.”

    Wonderful idea. Imagine the howling!

  3. DirkH

    And I have to advertise this massive tallbloke post; about the vertical thermal gradient in an atmosphere; Loschmidt, potential energy, lapse rate, Virial theorem, Miskolczi, pressure.

  4. Ed Caryl

    I don’t know about their ratings, but PBS now runs fundraising 3 weeks out of 8. It used to be one week every six months. I only watch the woodworking shows on Saturday mornings.

    1. DirkH

      Do you know Matthias Wandel’s website?

      1. Ed Caryl

        I do now. Thank you.

  5. Verity Jones

    The BBC is probably loved and reviled in equal measure. It certainly comes in for plenty of criticism these days e.g. –

    It has grown into a monster. It may be one of the few publicly funded national telvision stations doing well, but then it does export a lot of what it makes rather successfully – Although the report was about Climate Change, the December publication of a report by Christopher Booker had an interesting introduction by a former BBC insider.

    The news side is notorious for reporting what it thinks we all should hear about – and not just on climate – very politically left leaning. A while back when I was canvased by telephone by someone representing the BBC asking our opinions on charging for digital channels. He asked what I thought the BBC channels were worth to us as a family (if we had to pay for them) and he thought he’d misheard me when I said “You mean instead of the licence fee?” He got more and more incredulous as I told him how little we watched the BBC news and couldn’t remember the last time I looked at BBC NEWS 24. I took great pleasure in coming up with a figure of £2 per month as an alternative to the license fee and saying if we didn’t have access we wouldn’t miss it.

    1. TheJollyGreenMan

      Hi Verity,

      Thank you for ruining a good night’s sleep.

      I cannot believe what you just reported. Those smug BBC leftwing bastards thinking that we should pay even more, in addition to our licence fees? They can go and jump!

  6. Freddie Stoller

    Hi, Marietta is the main reason I love to watch Heute. When I see her, I am not paying attention to the message!? Am I the only one?? Regards from the very, very snowed in Swiss mountains, Fred.

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