ARD to remain in 3Sat

Teutonic pubcaster defies politicos

BERLIN — German pubcaster ARD has rejected calls by state leaders to pull out of the joint Euro channel 3Sat, which it oper-ates with fellow Teutonic network ZDF, Austria’s ORF and Swiss pubcaster SRG.

At an ARD general meeting Wednesday (Dec. 1) in Hanover, officials said a withdrawal from the jointly operated pubcaster would not lower costs nor strengthen the channel.

ARD appealed to state leaders not to force it out of the culture-focused 3Sat, which ARD joined a decade ago after giving up its own culture outlet Eins Plus.

Outgoing ARD topper Jobst Plog, who remains head of regional affiliate NDR, nevertheless said the pubcaster has had to adapt to lower than expected license fee revenues after a recent vote by state leaders to limit a planned fee increase for next year to EUR 0.88 ($1.16) more a month instead of the $1.45 the pubcasters had hoped to get.

Thomas Gruber, head of Bavarian pubdcaster BR, replaces Plog in the rotating post of ARD chairman next year.

Meanwhile, ARD and ZDF’s efforts to cut costs have triggered cries of protest among local producers.

The German Association of TV Producers criticized plans by ZDF to cut back on fictional programming, pointing out that the pubcasters are still getting a license fee increase next year.

As of April, Teutonic TV owners will have to pay $22.55 a month to support ARD and ZDF’s TV and radio offerings.

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