BERLIN– “ARD is not broke. It will not do its competitors the favor of going under,” topper Jobst Plog recently told journalists in Berlin.“ARD is going to have to disappoint its critics.” Plog was addressing the issue of massive ad revenue losses that have plunged the net into a deep, and well-publicized, financial crisis. ARD is watching its ad clients decamp to a number of new webs as costs soar. A particular difficulty has been serving eastern Germany with new affils. Plog referred to the current problems as ones that were unforeseen. Although major budget cutting measures are planned, Plog promised, “We’ll cut program costs last.” While the web says it remains committed to its current level of programming, much of the fare is being consolidated and shared among the various affils. Sports still on sked Plog made no direct reference to soccer, Germany’s highest-rated fare; the sport was cut entirely from the net after it became unaffordable. Instead, he stressed commitments to other areas of sport programming, like athletic championships. ARD also plans more cooperation with ZDF, a move aimed at cutting the budgets of both of the beleaguered pubcasters.
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