German B’casters Hope For New Definition Of Role

When the two Germanys wed last October, the role of pubcasters was dealt with at length in the unification treaty, but private broadcasters were not even mentioned. They want into the eastern part of the country pronto and are attempting to influence legislation that will define their future role.

The Bonn-based VPRT (Private Broadcasting & Telecommunications Assn.) is a powerful lobby in Germany; members are broadcasters, antenna and cable concerns, hardware manufacturers, ad agencies and publishers.

First review of law

They’re fighting to influence changes in the German broadcast law, being reviewed this year for the first time since private broadcasting was introduced in 1987.

In a press confab last week, the VPRT discussed hoped-for changes to the 15-article law that would strengthen their position in Germany while limiting the pubcasters’ ability to expand or increase ad revenues.

The private broadcasters complain that their signals are not received in 40% to 50% of German households and that they want terrestrial frequencies assigned to them immediately.

The presidents of the German states are expected to discuss the new tv legislation in June, and a decision on the new broadcast law must be reached before year’s end.

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