(Women’s Coffeehouse / Gay Coffeehouse)
No other format was more often on air in Piazza virtuale schedule than “Coffeehouse”. The show came closest to the concept of the “self-generating programme” that Piazza virtuale was suppossed to be, as viewers were able to get involved through phone calls, faxes or online chats. The goal of th show as to create an informal conversation situation with chance acquaintances like in a Viennese coffee house.
It was this programmes that gave Pizza virtuale the mocking nickname “Hallo TV”. Many callers answered with “Hallo”. Some of them were so surprised that they were on TV that they hung up immediately. Those who stayed on the line only had five minutes to find a topic of conversation with other callers before their connection was terminated in favor of new callers. A 3Sat staff member made sure that no insults, political extremism, advertising or pornography entered the program, a practice known as “content moderation” in contemporary social media, but still referred to simply as “censorship” by Van Gogh TV.
There were no length limits in the programmes broadcast via the Olympus television satellite, and so more in-depth and personal discussions were often held there. A group of regular callers eventually even came to Kassel to meet the makers of Van Gogh TV and each other in person – an example of a “virtual community” that developed as a result of the show.