Teuton pubcaster fees may increase

KEF faces opposition from private webs, politicians

COLOGNE — Germany’s pubcasters may be allowed to up viewer fees despite fierce opposition from private webs and politicians.

Public body KEF, the commission in charge of setting fee guidelines, has reportedly proposed an increase of 6% to E17.22 ($20.32) per month for three years, starting in January 2005.

Given deficits in public coffers, the fees have been under intense discussion. Opposing the increase are the prime ministers of states North Rhine-Westphalia and Bavaria, the respective homes of commercial webs RTL TV and Haim Saban’s ProSiebenSat 1 Group.

Commercial broadcasters org VPRT attacked the proposal, arguing that a hike would add more than $470 million to the pubcasters’ joint budget of $7.7 billion, against the commercial webs’ revenues from ads of $4.8 billion. A decision is expected in January.

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