TV license fees in Germany - Rundfunkbeitrag, formerly known as GEZ

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Hazza.. how can the mind-numbingly boring German TV programmes be good for the public? The last time I watched a TV programme with my mother in my gran's flat in Berlin, it nearly set off the Third World War. I was making sarcastic remarks about the stupidty of the people involved (something about Germans moving to some foreign country and being surprised that they couldn't walk into a job speaking just German). Mum got upset, switched the TV off and stormed out.

 

I have yet to miss anything on German TV. As in "Oh, what a shame I don't have a TV, I would love to see that series every week."

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If they're going to insist that all households pay, then they could dismantle this entire organisation

 

They wouldn't dare do that, there'd be mass public disorder and protests from the army of job-for-life bureaucrats who fill their vast offices in Cologne.

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Allershausen: As counter-intuitive as it sounds, the fact that the Germans have a more expensive licence fee, excessive advertising, and yet still manage to produce total garbage is actually completely logical if you think about it.

 

It's a sort of toxic combination of public and private sector, where you have employees and directors who take the mindset and salary of a well-paid upper-echelon private sector worker, but suffer none of the corresponding risks of the private sector and instead enjoy the impossible-to-sack public sector style job-for-life sinecure.

 

Truly the worst of all worlds, expensive, overbearing, pig ignorant and shit quality to boot.

 

Just like the theatre system. Abonnement system and subsidies means the director has the money and doesn't have to please the audiences who have paid in advance to see something. He can just mess around as much as he (or she.. let's not be sexist) likes.. just to get into the papers. But produce something that people want to actually see and that they enjoy seeing.. ha.. no.

 

My German aunts gave their abonnements up after years of having them. The quality just got worse and worse.

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Very interesting viz theatre. It's a very recognisable and common pattern, it certainly does seem to be a system that pushes people inexorably into being obliged to pay to hear what the producers think they ought to hear - rather than what they would prefer to hear as paying customers.

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It's bizarre, the judicial system in Germany is ludicrously liberal, while institutions like the GEZ exist where there is little chance of making a complaint that will actually be listened to by anyone in a position of power because they are supported by the Government and are therefore untouchable.

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And even on rare occasions that something I want to watch (like the Wire, Mad Men or a National Geographic documentary, for example) is shown on German TV, half the original content - the audio - is stripped out and replaced by a couple of monotone German voice-over "artists" in a broom cupboard.

 

THAT's what really pisses me off about German TV.

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And the problem is that all the things that we are saying/typing here is never heard/read by anyone who is/are actually making these stupid decisions and plans. So we might vent here but in the end its not going to make any difference and we have to pay this bloody fee. arghhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

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... the fact that the Germans have a more expensive licence fee, excessive advertising, ...

"Advertising and sponsorship are other important sources of funding. Advertising time for ZDF and ARD is legally restricted to a maximum of twenty minutes per day from Monday to Saturday before 8:00 pm."

 

I don't call 20 minutes excessive. Don't you mix it up with private TV channels like RTL and PRO7? Also, I wouldn't define the BBC as unbureaucratic and efficient. I do enjoy watching e.g. Blue Planet (world class), but not the programmes which run for decades. What's innovative about that?

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All signs seem to point in the direction that this is going to be challenged in court and overturned. Due to the across-the-board nature of the "fee", lawyers can and will argue that this is nothing but a tax.

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And even on rare occasions that something I want to watch (like the Wire, Mad Men or a National Geographic documentary, for example) is shown on German TV, half the original content - the audio - is stripped out

 

Most of the time it's not even stripped out, just recorded over at a level loud enough to compete with the original soundtrack, so neither the original audio or the dubbed audio is discernible.

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And even on rare occasions that something I want to watch (like the Wire, Mad Men or a National Geographic documentary, for example) is shown on German TV, half the original content - the audio - is stripped out and replaced by a couple of monotone German voice-over "artists" in a broom cupboard.

 

THAT's what really pisses me off about German TV.

 

Now... one thing that would be really good is to do what they had in South Africa (don't know if they still have it).

 

It was called Simulcasting. If you switched the TV on for certain programmes (like foreign ones) you could hear it in one language on TV. If you wanted a different language, you turned the volume on the TV down and put a certain radio channel on. OK.. so the sound came from another directioin, but I saw this in 1988. 24 years later, something more sophisticated must be possible.

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So basically I'm paying so the pensioners and HartzIV people can watch uninterupted TV. Well that's great then.

 

You got it.

 

There is a reason why the afternoon content on most channels is referred to as "Hartz IV TV".

Supplying what the customer wants :(

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I wouldn't define the BBC as unbureaucratic and efficient. I do enjoy watching e.g. Blue Planet (world class), but not the programmes which run for decades. What's innovative about that?

 

That bureaucracy doesn't have much of a negative impact on the general public in the UK, unlike the GEZ here. Every organisation has to have a certain level of bureaucracy to function, it's when it starts to define that organisation that it becomes a problem.

The quality of BBC content knocks that of pretty much any other country in the world in to a cocked hat, and that's not just me saying that as a Brit who grew up with shows like Dr Who and Attenborough documentaries, that's my opinion as someone who has lived in other countries where the TV is so bad, it's like having your brains liquidized and fed back to you through a straw.

Give me a 40 year old episode of Fawlty Towers over a present day talk show with Stefan Raab any time.

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something more sophisticated must be possible.

 

German TV has had the possiblity to do this for several decades, it's called Zweikanalton and it enables you to choose between the original version and the dubbed one. Unfortunately they almost never use it, or at least they didn't when I used to watch German TV, which was one of the reasons I switched to getting UK tv over satellite.

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I currently do not pay GEZ, and wonder what I should do from Jan 2013. I cannot find any information on changes for 2013 on the GEZ website, so my assumption is that I simply need to signup before 1st Jan 2013 and pay the cash???

 

I'm on the same boat. Actually, I'm not even sure if my landlord is already paying it, as I'm in a "temporary" apartment, through Mr. Lodge.

 

I have a TV, but the only thing hooked up to it is the Playstation 2 that I bought for my son, then bought back from him, after buying him a Playstation3. I have a habit of making bad business deals with him, but that's another story.

 

I do have a computer hooked up to the internet, but to my knowledge ARD doesn't show hardcore porn, so I obviously haven't ever watched their channel.

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Tonight on BBC1 at 8 pm: EastEnders

 

Don't miss it :).

 

@Chocky: Stefan Raab is on PRO7, so they don't get money from the GEZ, but I got your point.

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