Back in my high school days I remember discussing the exponential function which is curved towards infinity. If you apply “stupidity” on the y-axis and “breathtaking journalism material” on the x-axis you will understand how German TV works.
So let’s recap the story. Mr. Snowden, the biggest whistleblower of the 21st century and hiding somewhere in Russia, has agreed to an interview with the German TV Station “NDR” (Norddeutscher Rundunk). The NDR is part of Germany’s state-owned network “ARD”. Along with the second TV channel – ZDF – they are funded through TV fees which every household has to pay (no matter whether they watch or not). It’s similar to the UKs BBC with the crucial difference that the BBC produces quality programmes whereas German TV stations produce rubbish.
I was pleasantly surprised that they managed to get Mr Snowden in front of a camera. After all, it’s his first TV interview since he left Hong Kong (apart from a press conference in Russia).
So now what are you doing if you’re a national TV outlet in Germany and have a breathtaking story the whole world wants to see?
First, your air the video at 11pm on a Sunday. After all, the best TV time is 8:15 but there’s already a crime TV series (Tatort) during that time. So let’s put it close to midnight when no one is watching.
Second, since we’re in the 21st century we make sure the video can also be watched online. But given that the whole world wants to watch, you make the content only accessible within Germany!
“Now, that’s pretty stupid”, you might say. And I wholeheartedly agree. At first I thought it was a mistake in the geo-settings on the website and YouTube. But I was wrong. It seems, stupidity is really to blame. NDR hasn’t purchased the rights for the interview for global distribution.
“Hold on”, you might say. “Wasn’t it the NDR who conducted the interview in the first place?”.
Correct. Well, almost. One of NDR’s subsidiaries organised the interview and sold the rights (for Germany) to the mother company. Why they didn’t sell the rights for a global distribution I don’t know…
Third, since this topic, after all it’s the biggest spy scandal in history, only interests a German audience, you only upload the German version. That will allow no one except German speakers to understand it. Smart move!
It seems, some internet users out there shared my humble opinion. After being heavily criticised for a day, NDR finally uploaded the video to YouTube – in English.
BUT, you can still only access it from Germany.
So, if you want to watch yourself what Mr Snowden has to say simply do this:
1) Open a browser
2) Navigate to: www.independentweb.info (a proxy site in Germany)
3) Copy the URL in the field on the site: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4x38jkFlPeg
I’m really flabbergasted by the sheer amount of stupidity. If the German National TV networks still ask themselves why no one likes to pay license fees – here’s the answer.