This issue is about a bit specific situation in Germany and it’s (mainly tax-financed) public service broadcasting. If you think you are not interested, please skip this entry. :)

Just beginning from scratch… In Germany we have (like most european countries) a public service broadcasting. Starting with 2013 the system collecting the funding of the public service broadcasting changed from GEZ to Beitragsservice.
To make it short (and a bit simplified) … it changed from “most ‘families’ have to pay” to “every menage has to pay”. This means, even if you don’t have any device to use the service of the german public service broadcasting but are a menage, you have to pay for it. This sitiation is even more worse than pay-TV.

Don’t get me wrong … I’m neither against public service broadcasting nor against paying for it in principle. In the rare cases I’m watching TV, this is most likely a channel of the public service broadcasting. Same counts for the rest of my small family. Mostly we are watching news and documentations … also some movies are watched. The kids are watching KiKA, which we like cause it’s Ads-free and it’s not just some cartoons with hidden violence. So we most likely benefit from public service broadcasting.

Anyways … in common we are not using “TV” as most of the others may do. We still like some sort of the broadcast, but we are missing it cause various reasons. For our luck there is a service called ’Mediathek’ provided by the most german public service broadcasting channels. If you missed a broadcast or are prevented for any reason, you may watch the broadcast there.

Unfortunately the timeframe you can access the broadcast is very short, in most cases 7 days. This is manifested in the so called Rundfunkstaatsvertrag, more precisely in the 12. Rundfunkänderungsstaatsvertrag. The ’Tagesschau’ has a good explanation about the issue. This means, in simple words, the tax payed broadcasts needs to be deleted after a (in my eyes) short time. WTF?!? Why do we wipe work we all payed for it? Guess what … it was implemented by lobbying from commercial print media and private (e.g. ads-financed) TV-channels. A comment about a related problem, which I agree, can be found here.

Another challenge … How do you know there is a broadcasting your are interested in? How do you know when it is broadcasted? I remember, my parents was subscribed to a daily newspaper, which included an additional TV paper, my parents-in-law bought also one.
As we are neither subscribed to a daily newspaper nor buying a TV paper, we have to solve that differently (beside that a printed paper won’t help us I think). When we use the opportunity to watch TV at the evening, I just use an electronical TV paper (-app). If we find something which fits, we are fine .. if not, we do other things.

This sounds a bit like an old school behaviour and it is not, how I would like to use a media today. I like using a feedreader. You can subscribe differnt ‘channels’ of information feeds and it is a way I would love to use TV.

In the past I used a tool called ’Mediathek’, which is a tool for Mac OSX. With this tool it was easily possible to find broadcasts, you could subscribe to so called ‘channels’, which means broadcasts of a same series for example. You could also mark them as “unread” und “read” .. something like a feedreader.
On the other way, it was also possible to list recent broadcast per genres and popular broadcast of the recent and the last week.

This was very comfortable as this was working for several mediathek sites for german public service broadcasting channels in one central place. For every broadcast you could just view it or download it to view it later. You could even download subscribed channels automatically.

After using the Mediathek-App and being satisfied by the Mediathek sites of the german public service broadcasting channels for several years, this week the server(s) behind the App was shut down. What the f….?!?

On Twitter the author stated that the shutdown was cause by problems with the copyright law. Das Erste, ZDF and WDR denied that they has anything todo with this recent issue. The question is … what is the direct cause for shutting down such a good service. This smells a bit like the PirateBay issue, but in this case the content which is Mediathek providing access to isn’t pirated, but legal hosted. So where is the real issue?

In my mind, the german citizen has payed to produce this content and should have the right to access the content is an usable way. The Mediathek App did provide such a way and it is really pissing me off that this access isn’t available anymore, at least for this reason. Actually I don’t see any solution to access our payed content in a decent way.

Footnote: I think it’s obscenely, that publishing houses and commercial broadcaster trying to gain their turnover at the expense of the german citizen by forcing the german legislature to implement Depublication,.