History of Television Around the World - Germany

About the history of television in the world and in the former East and West Germany, stations and programs.

Television around the World


West Germany has 10 television stations, the richest public-service network in the world, with its stations gaining the bulk of their monies from limited quotas of advertising (about 20 minutes a day) and annual license fees. One of the highest-rated programs in West Germany is "Aktenzeichen Xy ... Ungelost" ("File on Xy ... Unsolved"), an interesting experiment in audience participation broadcast live 10 times a year. During the course of each program 3 actual unsolved crimes are presented in dramatized form, then discussed with the detectives who worked on the case. After pictures of the criminals and/or items stolen are shown, accompanied by verbal descriptions, the viewing audience is asked to phone in any vital information that it might have pertaining to the case. Successful in terms of ratings, it has been equally successful in solving crimes. The 36 million viewers have helped solve more than 80 of the 1st 153 cases presented, and have helped the police capture 82 out of 125 suspects.

The East Germans also have a passion for thrillers. A 3-part drama called "The Lady of Genoa," however, dealt not merely with a plot to steal a painting, but tried to expose the cutthroat unscrupulousness of the international art market.

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