Handshake2Deutschland (H2D), the German multimedia integration and information content provider for refugees and support workers, is launching TV channel H2D on September 6, 2016.
The free-to-air, multilingual channel will be broadcast on the cable network of Unitymedia and for DTH satellite households on Astra (19,2 degrees East). Uplink and playout services are handled by MX1 (formerly SES Platform Services), the technical services subsidiary of Astra satellite operator SES.
The project would not have been possible without the support of Unitymedia and Astra, according to the operators. H2D will also become available on internet TV platform Zattoo this week.
H2D is a joint venture between independent media companies High View and Apfel TV Kontor and will be operated as a charitable, non-commercial project. To get it off the ground, H2D attracted several content partners, including TV broadcasters like France 24 and Euronews. In addition, it also formed partnerships with providers of educational films such as Goldene Zeiten, Deutschland für Anfänger and MaroWeltShow. H2D’s design was created by Munich-based agency Me Happy.
“Refugee integration is a task for our whole society and media companies have their part to play. H2D will help refugees feel at home in German society. The channel will also teach about German culture and the values on which our constitution is based,” said Frank Apfel, CEO of H2D. “We would like to thank our distribution partners Unitymedia and Astra for supporting this project and expanding the channel, and our content partners for their excellent work. Additional promotions and support are always welcome.”
H2D’s goal is to familiarise refugees who have long-term residency prospects with German society and lifestyle, help them to navigate daily life and learn the language. In addition to programmes in German language, it also offers news and special interest programming in English and Arabic on world events and other topics.
The channel will launch with a programme loop updated daily. The initial broadcast will feature educational films to support newly arrived refugees and explain aspects of life in Germany. The original production Studio H2D will offer interviews with guests and cover and review media providers, information and language services for refugees, especially websites and mobile apps. Refugees will also have opportunities to apply for jobs with employers.
Apart from the TV channel, H2D also provides customisable video content for refugee shelters to provide practical organisational and information support for primary and volunteer support staff. Screens installed at various locations and Wi-Fi-controlled boxes show general H2D programming along with programming customised to the refugee home. Information boards in English, Arabic and Dari on various topics offer details on medical check-ups, opening times, child care and leisure activities. H2D deployed such a service for the first time in March 2016 in the reception centre at the Kurpfalz-Kaserne military base in Speyer.
H2D also offers an online and mobile presence. The website www.h-2-d.de, set up by Dutch firm IB Broadcast, acts as a service provider and aggregator of content compiled for refugees and support workers. It recommends and provides links to media and advice sites as well as language courses.