German international service Deutsche Welle (DW) plans to close its linear German-language TV channel. A DW spokesman confirmed this to Broadband TV News.
The move is part of a package of measures presented by DW director Peter Limbourg to the DW broadcasting council in Berlin on March 17, 2023.
“We will no longer broadcast linear programming in German after the changeover, but we will offer singular content on digital platforms,” the DW spokesman said. The date for the closure of the German TV channel has not yet been set. “I’m not able to provide a specific date at this time,” he added.
With the package of measures as part of the 2024 budget planning, Limbourg wants to drive the digital transformation of the German international service. Included are savings, budget shifts from linear to digital offerings and to regional languages, as well as investments in digital working environments.
Only about 250,000 people worldwide regularly use the German-language TV channel, according to Limbourg. “This means that usage is out of all proportion to the considerable effort we have to put into the channel.” He added that the potential for the linear TV offering in German is “very small” anyway, regardless of the financial resources. At the same time, Limbourg stressed that the German-language TV offering would be continued as a “digital multimedia offering” and would “lose nothing of its variety.”
Looking at the package of measures, Limbourg pointed to the responsibility to use the broadcaster’s available budget as effectively as possible. “We have to make some decisions as a precaution so that we don’t find ourselves in an infinitely more difficult situation in 2024. At the same time, we have to respond to the highly dynamic digital transformation, which poses a major challenge to us in the international media markets. The very young, digital-savvy target groups, not only in Africa and Asia, inform themselves primarily via digital offerings. Especially in Russia, Ukraine and Eastern Europe, objective information is of enormous importance to the people we can best reach via digital channels.”
Limbourg stressed that DW will make savings not only in programming, but also in all other areas of the company. For example, investments in technology will also be scaled back, building infrastructure projects will be cut and broadcasting costs will be reduced while further savings opportunities will be examined in all directorates.