I really like the idea behind the Pod101 suite. It is a very extensive resource, with well-produced and well-documented videos. Although the price is quite high (8$ per month for the Basic plan or 25$ per month for the Premium plan), I say it’s worth the money. But I think that Pod101 sites have a huge problem: it’s not a resource for absolute beginners or for advanced ones. No matter what the company or other bloggers claim, it is not for these two categories. And, if we say that an absolute beginner can use other resources at the same time to learn, an advanced doesn’t have much to look for on Pod101 sites. But I found a site that addresses especially the advanced ones. And, on top of that, it’s also free.
It’s called Onleihe, and it’s produced by the Goethe Institut. And, even better: it has not only podcasts, but also magazines, books, eBooks, movies and music. Most of them are produced by other companies, not the Goethe Institut, but there is also its own content. Basically, a Netflix, Spotify, Kindle and Google News, all together. Free. And, even if you are not a very experienced German speaker, Onleihe is for you. Most movies have subtitles in other languages (usually in English, but also in Russian, Spanish etc).
For example, you can find books in any category: from history books (including some about WW2) to kindergarten books. In the video category, they range from documentaries to box office movies. They have auto motor und sport, der Spiegel, FOCUS and other magazines I’ve never heard of in my life.
But there is a problem with the Onleihe Library: the site is badly made. It looks like we were in 2010, and it’s not very intuitive. In fact, it is often difficult to use, and the content is arranged in a rather chaotic way. Sometimes it’s hard to load, and that’s horrible, considering I live in a country with one of the fastest internet connections in the world. Although not a well-made site, Onleihe is the most extensive media library I have come across. If you are learning German or plan to learn German, save this site in bookmarks and use it whenever you want. We all waste hours on Netflix and Spotify, and I think that by replacing them with Onleihe, we would have more to gain.
PS: If you get bored of Onleihe (although I don’t know how you could do it, given the multitude of resources), you can turn on the TV on RTL, Pro Sieben, SAT.1, Deutsche Welle. I especially like Pro Sieben, because it gives classic American series (like The Big Bang Theory), but dubbed in German.