No sports ads for ARD, ZDF

Score a big one for private broadcasters, zero for the pubcasters.

In a special vote of the government body KEF (Commission for Financial Needs of Public Broadcasting), a motion to allow pubcasters to air ads during evening sporting events was denied.

The move effectively blocks ARD and ZDF from airing soccer and tennis, Germany’s highest-rated programming. Sports rights prices have risen several hundred percent here in the past few years, prompting even deep-pocketed RTL to dub sports programming “a luxury.”

ARD made a motion to pols last September to allow sporting event ad revenue to staunch the flow of cash pubcasters are hemorrhaging, as well as to help them get a leg up in the ratings battle against the increasingly successful private webs.

The denial of the sports ad request does not bode well for pubcasters’ wishes to have the no-ads-after-8 ban lifted altogether.

ARD chief Jobst Plog said, “ARD regrets the KEF decision that comes during a time of drastic ad losses and intensive cost-cutting that affect all our colleagues.” Plog estimates ARD will lose 100 million marks ($ 62.5 million) as a result of the decision.