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?