“The crisis as an opportunity” can now be heard daily from the mouths of digitally networked, conference callers and post-it online users. Decisions are made much faster in telcos or video conferences than in conference rooms and offices, and the news situation is ticking through the day at a similarly rapid pace. Anyone who had actually renounced linear television is currently consuming it more often for example the German channels ARD, ZDF or other local third parties. In my case that is the channel WDR.

The news – only available in the media library at a quarter to nine

Local time, current hour, Tagesschau and ARD Extra. That is what the holy fourfold of the evening programme in Germany is called. Since my satellite dish is no longer on reception after the last storm and the to-do list in the house just doesn’t get any shorter even in times of #socialdistancing, dish alignment is still on top of the list. Besides the work in the home office – and yes, I really appreciate the fact that I can still work – house cleaning and getting a roll of toilet paper were more important at the moment. But you would think that I’m so digitally set up that I can stream the daytime news at 8 pm and don’t even need classic TV reception anymore.

Livestream also works quite well. But if it is 20:05 and I want to see the current news, I can’t do that until about 20:45 or even later. Before that it is not available in the media library online. There I only find the 5 pm edition. Nowadays this is already water under the bridge. On ARD Extra I can get back on live, but if it’s delayed, I can find it in the media libraries very quickly. But where can I find the news shortly after the end of the show? On YouTube. There I live with a slightly lower quality – but at least with more actuality. I don’t need to understand this order, but it’s interesting.

If I want to stream the programme “local time”, then one of the many different local times is always shown alternately. In linear television I would simply set WDR Cologne and always see my local time. But in the media library I wait again for a few hours (it’s a bit shorter then) until I can get the local time Cologne. It´s similar with the programme called “current hour”. Or I’m just not up to date digitally and can’t find anything. Because this is very special, I don’t get upset about the ARD app in my Smart TV. There are better versions available from other brands. In mine you can only rewind in 4-minute steps. For movies ok, for news not so. Whining on a high level is of course quite good.

[Addition: Thanks to this article I learned from a friend that you can rewind the livestream in the ARD Mediathek at least two hours. However, it only works on the computer, now … but at least!]

Opening up new target groups – especially now

Nevertheless, I think that the media libraries of the public-law institutions should also take their chance here. Our German all-hero Christian Drosten with his coronavirus update can be found everywhere: In the audio store, on Spotify and on YouTube. And in many other places. Exactly right. His weekday podcasts have up to 15 million hits. Opening up new target groups and so on. Right now. With 9.9 million viewers, the German Tagesschau on 15 March was the one with the highest viewing figures since the 2018 Football World Cup.

Anyone who has gotten used to the 8 p.m. news again, for example, will be happy to tune in again after the crisis. Even if the Tagesschau App (on the iPhone) is great. So there is also praise from me. Unfortunately, I haven’t had time yet for Netflix, Amazon Prime, Maxdome or Sky or whatever they’re all called. But I’m sure it will come. Then I can probably answer the question “Well, have you gone through everything yet?” with ‘yes’. Oh wait, there will be all the media libraries as well… (ARTE for example, one of my favourite starting points even before Corona times).


Anna Linn Zafiris

Anna Linn Zafiris

Head of Social Media

When she’s not posting pictures of vegan food or street art on Instagram, she can usually be found on one of her bicycles, at flea markets, strolling around Cologne or at the yoga studio. If you can’t find her there either, she is travelling and exploring temples or volcanoes in faraway countries.

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