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Germany is a synchronization country. Almost all programs from abroad are shown in this country in a synchronized version. In the Netherlands or the Scandinavian countries, on the other hand, it is common for series, cinema and television films to be shown in the original with subtitles. For less populous countries, subtitles are cheaper than dubbing, which also has a positive effect on foreign language skills, especially English. Countries regularly do well in surveys on English proficiency. Germany usually ends up in the middle of the field.
Thanks to international pay TV and streaming providers, the original sound is now also becoming more popular in Germany. A new study by Cartoon Network and Boomerang, two broadcasters in the Turner Group, which also includes the TNT series, and the market research institute Mindline Media now shows that the offers apparently also have an impact on the foreign language skills of children and young people in Germany.
More and more children are now growing up in households with streaming and pay TV subscriptions. According to the 2018 online study by ARD and ZDF, 67 percent of 14 to 29-year-olds use video streaming services at least once a week, and 40 percent of 30 to 49-year-olds. Children and young people have long been an important target group for providers, and they regularly expand their range of formats.
For the new study, 1046 parents and one of their children between the ages of six and 13 were interviewed. 84 percent of all children surveyed believe that watching TV in English helps them learn the language. 42 percent of children from pay-TV households watch television regularly, 72 percent like to watch television in English. 26 percent said they could converse in English. This means that they rate their language skills better than children from households without pay-TV. There, only 17 percent use English-language television at least once a week and 17 percent also stated that they could also have conversations in English.
As early as 2014, a study by the Institute for Applied Social Science (Infas) in Bonn showed that 40 percent of the total population and more than half of young adults would support broadcasting youth programs in the original language alone. A large majority of the rest were in favor of being able to choose between the versions. But so far there have been few such offers for children and young people. Cartoon Network and Boomerang, for example, broadcast two channels in German and English. As a rule, all programs are offered in the original sound, says Turner. With individual platforms such as Vodafone, via which the channels can also be received, the English version has to be booked separately.
In free TV, for example, Nickelodeon has also been offering an English soundtrack for the last three years, in which the entire program is also shown in the original. Nickelodeon is part of Viacom, Cartoon Network and Boomerang is part of Turner, each of which is part of international media groups. Mostly German productions run at the Kika. There one refers to individual episodes of the Broadcast with the elephantn in English and the Show with the mouse in English, Kurdish, French, Arabic and Dari as well as on JoNaLu, a series for preschool children, in which there are also Turkish and Italian-speaking characters who are supposed to give "first impressions of other linguistic worlds".
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