An around-the-clock television channel devoted to ageing, death and dying will be launched in Germany this autumn.
Documentaries about cemeteries and changing funeral cultures will be shown alongside advice on how to go about finding suitable nursing or palliative care. Other shows will aim to provide viewers with information about undertakers, insurance schemes, meals-on-wheels, stair lifts, bathroom hoists and other medical supplies.
The channel, which pairs 'TV veteran' Wolf Tilmann Schneider, the channel’s founder, with the National Association of Funeral Homes in Germany, seeks to take advantage of the countries changing demographics. In 2006, Germany saw almost 150,000 more deaths than births, a continuation of a trend that has seen the country’s population age dramatically in recent decades.
Kerstin Gernig, spokeswoman for the National Association of Funeral Homes, says there has also been a recent shift in the way people approach death and burial. More people are taking advantage of anonymous burials, for example. Forest cemeteries are likewise becoming more popular, as are Internet graveyards. And the church no longer plays such a large role in the death industry."We want to take a look at the changing nature of mourning and death in the Internet, pictures and movies."
The channel also plans to provide families with an outlet for their mourning by offering 30 second slots as televised obituaries. For an €2,400 fee, the spot will be aired 10 times on the death channel and will also be provided as a video on the company’s website and those of the funeral homes.
As Schneider says, the list of topics for the channel to cover is endless.
(Source: Spiegel Online, via CDAS at Bath University)