CULTURE (2017 | Issue 3)

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German society is liberal and free. Freedom of the press and speech are guaranteed under the constitution. There is a dual existence of public and private media. In spite of the shift brought about by the internet and mobile  communication, traditional media still has wide reach. What’s Up, Germany? provides an insight into the vibrant media landscape in Germany.

Cinematic Boom

Cinematic Boom

German cinema has a very long tradition. The first film to be publicly shown in the history of cinema was by the Skladanowsky brothers in Berlin, back in 1895. Babelsberg Studio, located just outside Berlin, is the oldest large-scale film studio in the world. Founded in 1912, it was Hollywood’s biggest competitor at the time. Several legendary figures like director Fritz Lang, actress Marlene Dietrich and screenwriter Billy Wilder are products of Babelsberg. Even today, major national and international movies are made there, including parts of The Bourne Ultimatum, Inglourious Basterds, The Counterfeiters and The Reader.

The late 1960s saw a group of young directors like Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Werner Herzog, Volker Schlöndorff and Wim Wenders establish the New German Cinema, which earned them quite an international reputation. In more recent times, films such as Nowhere in Africa (2001), Good Bye, Lenin! (2003), Head-On (2004), The Lives of Others (2006), Head Full of Honey (2014) and Toni Erdmann (2016) have enjoyed worldwide success.

The Berlinale, held since 1951, is one of the world’s leading film festivals. There are also several niche festivals, including one dedicated to Indian cinema. Berlin, Munich, Hamburg and Cologne are important film locations. Portions of Don2 were shot in Berlin! Germany has also made a mark in the area of visual effects. Pixomondo won an Emmy Award for Game of Thrones, and Scorsese’s award-winning Hugo was partly produced in Germany.

German Cinema

Germany has the largest television market in Europe. It has a dual system, with public broadcasters (Das Erste—also known as ARD—and ZDF), free stations (RTL, SAT.1, ProSieben) and the pay-TV broadcaster Sky Deutschland, among others. Some popular TV shows include Tatort, a crime series running since 1970; Türkisch für Anfänger, a critically acclaimed comedy drama series; and Lindenstraße, a soap opera.

In 2015, Deutsche Welle (DW), Germany’s public international broadcaster, increased its South Asian presence with the launch of DWTV in India. Inaugurated by the German Ambassador to India, Dr Martin Ney, and Jawhar Sircar, CEO of Prasar Bharati, it focusses on news, lifestyle and regional content in English.

Radio Gaga

Radio rocks in Germany! With over 500 radio stations, it certainly is a popular medium with a vast reach. The national pubic radio broadcaster Deutschlandradio runs four stations. Deutsche Welle (DW), another publicly funded service, is beamed to Europe and overseas over short wave. Commercial radio largely follows regional content.

Publishing Power

Germans are eager newspaper readers, making Germany the fifth-largest newspaper market in the world. Over 350 daily newspapers are published. Despite strong competition from TV and online media, newspapers still reach 70 per cent of the German population above 14 years. Leading national publications include Süddeutsche Zeitung, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Handelsblatt, Die Welt and the tabloid Bild. The weekly news magazine DER SPIEGEL continues to shape public opinion. The Deutsche Presse-Agentur (dpa) is the largest German news agency.

Germans are also big on books. They have a strong tradition of literature and philosophy. The theologian Martin Luther translated the Bible into German, thereby setting the basis for the modern German language. Literary giants like Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Friedrich Schiller, Friedrich Nietzsche, the Grimm brothers, Hermann Hesse, Günter Grass, Bertolt Brecht and Thomas Mann were all German! In addition to a rich literary canon, works by a younger generation of German writers like Bernhard Schlink, Daniel Kehlmann, Frank Witzel, Tanja Kinkel, Cornelia Funke and Herta Müller are ensuring a dynamic literary scene. Over 94,000 titles are published every year and Germany hosts some of the biggest literary events: the Frankfurt and Leipzig book fairs. Read on, Germany!

Germany has the largest television market in Europe. It has a dual system, with public broadcasters (Das Erste—also known as ARD—and ZDF), free stations (RTL, SAT.1, ProSieben) and the pay-TV broadcaster Sky Deutschland, among others. Some popular TV shows include Tatort, a crime series running since 1970; Türkisch für Anfänger, a critically acclaimed comedy drama series; and Lindenstraße, a soap opera.

In 2015, Deutsche Welle (DW), Germany’s public international broadcaster, increased its South Asian presence with the launch of DWTV in India. Inaugurated by the German Ambassador to India, Dr Martin Ney, and Jawhar Sircar, CEO of Prasar Bharati, it focusses on news, lifestyle and regional content in English.

Radio Gaga

Radio rocks in Germany! With over 500 radio stations, it certainly is a popular medium with a vast reach. The national pubic radio broadcaster Deutschlandradio runs four stations. Deutsche Welle (DW), another publicly funded service, is beamed to Europe and overseas over short wave. Commercial radio largely follows regional content.

Publishing Power

Germans are eager newspaper readers, making Germany the fifth-largest newspaper market in the world. Over 350 daily newspapers are published. Despite strong competition from TV and online media, newspapers still reach 70 per cent of the German population above 14 years. Leading national publications include Süddeutsche Zeitung, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Handelsblatt, Die Welt and the tabloid Bild. The weekly news magazine DER SPIEGEL continues to shape public opinion. The Deutsche Presse-Agentur (dpa) is the largest German news agency.

Germans are also big on books. They have a strong tradition of literature and philosophy. The theologian Martin Luther translated the Bible into German, thereby setting the basis for the modern German language. Literary giants like Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Friedrich Schiller, Friedrich Nietzsche, the Grimm brothers, Hermann Hesse, Günter Grass, Bertolt Brecht and Thomas Mann were all German! In addition to a rich literary canon, works by a younger generation of German writers like Bernhard Schlink, Daniel Kehlmann, Frank Witzel, Tanja Kinkel, Cornelia Funke and Herta Müller are ensuring a dynamic literary scene. Over 94,000 titles are published every year and Germany hosts some of the biggest literary events: the Frankfurt and Leipzig book fairs. Read on, Germany!

German Cinema