Budget of ARD and ZDF increases to more than ten billion euros a year

by time news
Eat Gniffke

The ARD chairman wants to invest significantly in the technology in order to keep up with Netflix and Co.

(Photo: dpa)

München The incumbent ARD chairman, Kai Gniffke, announced big plans last weekend. In order to keep up with Netflix, Amazon Prime and the other major US streaming platforms, “several hundred million euros will be invested in the development of technology in the coming years,” announced the director of Südwestrundfunk (SWR): “It will cost a lot of money .”

The good financial situation at the moment may give the former boss of “Tagesschau” and “Tagesthemen” the courage to embark on such an adventure. Because for the current year, public broadcasting is expecting funds of more than ten billion euros for the first time – a turning point.

The Cologne Institute for Media Policy (IfM) calculated this number based on the budget plans presented by the broadcasters for 2023. The nine ARD stations account for around 7.25 billion euros, ZDF 2.5 billion and Deutschlandradio 276 million. That adds up to 10.027 billion euros.

Broadcasting fee remains the main source of income for ARD and ZDF

The main source of income is the license fee with a share of 85 percent. Every German household has to pay 18.36 euros a month, giving rise to ongoing political debates.

Several Prime Ministers have positioned themselves against a further increase. A newly formed “Future Council” of experts is to provide information on how to proceed with the public service system, which is also financed by advertising, sponsorship and other income.

No other public broadcasting association in the world has as much money as ARD and ZDF. Their total budget has increased by 4.1 billion euros or 70 percent since 1995. The inflation-related loss of purchasing power during this period was only 38 percent, the IfM study draws a comparison.

As in Germany, the volume and structure of public broadcasters is also the subject of heated debates in other European countries, for example in Great Britain. According to the IfM, the BBC – once a model for ARD after 1945 – has around 6.25 billion euros at its disposal there. There is no double structure like ARD and ZDF. In France, France Télévision achieves revenues of around 2.8 billion euros, in Italy the RAI comes to 2.5 billion.

For their ambitious digital plans, ARD and ZDF also want to involve other European broadcasters if possible. ARD boss Gniffke is already talking about a nucleus for something much bigger – a “marketplace for all German media”. However, no one can dispose of more than ten billion euros a year.

More: League association DFL wants to sell fewer shares in the media rights

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