UdLDigital Talkshow is the name of Germany’s most successful political online talk show. It is recorded in the heart of Berlin, on the boulevard Unter den Linden, only steps from the Brandenburg Gate. Every month, moderator Cherno Jobatey welcomes political heavyweights including members of the government, opposition leaders and party chairmen, adding experts, bloggers and hackers to the mix. Even top celebrities like Katarina Witt join in the discussion here.
Spreading political debate within other, less politically interested circles, with the help of new media! There are many, especially younger people who claim to dislike politics and not to watch politics (on TV), but habitually consume plenty of TV snippets online. Nor are they averse to discussion per se, often debating issues of our brave new digital world, such as network neutrality, copyright or data protection. And those are highly political issues. The UdLDigital Talkshow addresses this very group which has political affinities, but avoids the traditional forms of public debate.
David vs. Goliath: a more or less unknown person, a hero of a (digital) niche, debates with a well-known politician. During the second part, all the live audience members have the opportunity to participate in the discussion.
It all began with a wager: an old friend claimed that such a format would not work, and Cherno Jobatey wanted to prove the opposite. The visual format of the UdLDigital Talkshow resembled an old-school TV talk show, since television continues to be the global leading media, even registering increasing viewer retention (The Economist). It looks like television and is on the Internet.
To everyone’s surprise, this idea was noticed outside of Germany as well: the US State Department requested the same “look and feel” for an event featuring John Kerry.
The name UdLDigital Talkshow was a bit of a coincidence: “UdL” is the commonly used abbreviation for Berlin’s political main street, Unter den Linden. “Digital” because the point of departure of the original roundtable was digital issues. These digital issues can and should spark wonderful political discussions.
The sponsor of UdLDigital Talkshow is Telefonica, which also provides the venue for the shooting, BASE_camp in Berlin.