Net tackles cultural differences

Joining the ranks of such worldwide players as Children’s Television Workshop and last year’s winner, BBC Drama, European culture channel Arte will receive the 1999 Global Outstanding Achievement Award in honor of the network’s ability to take on cultural differences.

“In a fiercely competitive audiovisual market,” says Banff’s Pat Ferns, “Arte has set an extraordinarily high standard of program excellence while transcending economic, national and political boundaries and appealing to demographically diverse audiences. It’s quality television and television without borders.”

Founded in 1991, and broadcasting since May 1992, Arte is the joint creation of La Sept, the French cultural TV channel, and Arte Deutscheland, owned through a partnership of ARD and ZDF, the two German pubcasters.

More than 50 million European households now can access the channel, which showcases films, documentaries and programs on performing arts, visual arts, literature, history, society and politics. Of the 3,500 programs broadcast by the channel each year, 200 languages and dialects are featured through subtitling, dubbing, voiceover and voice-off commentary, among others.

“Upholding quality television is a vital goal of public service,” says Jobst Plog, president of Arte. “Within that context, appealing to all audiences has always been a guiding principle for us.”

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