NDR – one of Germany’s public television stations – has launched a pilot project to evaluate how opening up their content a bit might impact audience behaviour and started to make two shows available under a (by-nc-nd) creative commons license.

screenshot ndr

While they have implemented this in the lamest way possible – you can stream past episodes of media magazine Zapp and political satire Extra 3 in Realmedia or Windows Media format or you can download them, no way to embed the content on your own site if you don’t upload it to a video sharing site yourself first, no way to remix or modify it, no way for users to interact or add value for them etc. – the significance might be bigger than it seems.

NDR is public television and part of the ARD network which has a similar licence fee scheme as the BBC. With few exceptions everyone who owns a television in Germany has to obligatory pay 17 euro each month. Since they don’t have to worry about market share from an evolutionary point of view they are the least likely to adapt to the transformations in media environment and change of user behaviour and expectations.

The content we provide on the web has been paid by our visitors via the licence fee already. Since we mainly reach a younger audience on the web, the use of a creative commons license is especially interesting for us.

says NDR director Jobst Plog and he has a point.

It is great to see that they are trying to reflect new realities, but the problem I see is that this experiment is set up so badly that the conclusions are arbitrary, whether these clips gain a viral momentum or not. I wonder why they have to start from the scratch when they just could take a look at the lessons learned from their esteemed collegues a few miles north at the BBC or many others of course.

This article originally was written for blognation Germany. Since blognation is gone I have reposted it here.