Commercial webs fueling boom

BERLIN — With investments of almost $1.5 billion for programming this year, Germany’s commercial webs have become the engines powering the boom in the country’s TV industry.

A recent report by the Institute of German Economics (IW) said the biggest boost in local productions came from leading broadcasters RTL and SAT 1.

RTL spent $640 million this year: In the past three years, spending on out-of-house productions has increased by 20% to $423 million. In contrast, inhouse production budgets have only gone up by about 4% to about $218 million.

SAT 1 saw expenditures rise to some $550 million on inhouse and outside productions, while the IW estimated ProSieben invested some $260 million on behalf of its two webs, Pro7 and Kabel 1.

In addition to traditional gameshows and talk fare, the webs continue to increase production of series and TV movies, IW said.

Pubcasters still manage a larger output, however. Last year, 129 movies were produced by pubcasters, while only 85 TV pics came from commercial broadcasters, although that’s 33 more than in 1996.

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