You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Teuton gov’t limits pubcasters’ fee hike

ARD, ZDF under political pressure to keep costs down

BERLIN — Germany’s radio and television commission on Monday recommended a TV license fee hike of 86 euro cents ($1.05), well under the $1.34 monthly increase pubcasters were demanding.

The proposal by the six-member government commission — which the heads of Germany’s 16 federal states will vote on next month — will raise license fees paid by households from $19.80 to about $20.85 a month. At the present rate, ARD and ZDF rake in $8 billion a year, making them the world’s richest pubcasters.

The pubcasters, which have long enjoyed strong financial backing here, are under immense political and financial pressure to keep costs down, as the economy continues to sag and unemployment reaches record heights.

Nevertheless, ARD topper Jobst Plog called the proposal “extremely problematic.” The pubcasters said they would review the recommendations, which include cutting 255 jobs at ARD and 300 at ZDF, limiting online and marketing costs and selling up to $120 million worth of sports rights to commercial rivals.

Plog rejected the sale of sports rights, saying the demands interfered with their autonomy.

ARD and ZDF could go to court to make a case for more funding: The country’s basic law demands that independent pubcasters be adequately financed.

However, that could take years, and the European Union Commission is already investigating whether pubcaster financing in Germany could be construed as an illegal subsidy hindering fair competition in the TV market.

The pubcasters wanted an increase by January, but the proposal postpones a hike until April.

More TV

  • Sarah Michelle Gellar

    Sarah Michelle Gellar to Star in Drama 'Sometimes I Lie' in Development at Fox

    Sarah Michelle Gellar has set up her second starring vehicle at Fox this development season. Variety has confirmed that Gellar is attached to star in the limited drama series “Sometimes I Lie,” based on Alice Feeney’s novel of the same name and which has received a script commitment with a penalty attached at the broadcaster. [...]

  • Larry Wilmore London Hughes

    Larry Wilmore, London Hughes Team for Comedy Put Pilot at NBC

    Larry Wilmore and London Hughes have scored a put pilot order at NBC for a single-cam comedy project they co-created. The untitled series will star Hughes as London Jones, who, after getting dumped by her boyfriend in England, comes to America to find success, herself and maybe even love. Hughes co-wrote the series with Wilmore [...]

  • DUMBO US 1941. Photo by: Mary

    Disney Plus Warns Users Older Movies Have 'Outdated Cultural Depictions'

    The newly launched Disney Plus has no shortage of content, ranging from original animated classics to live-action remakes and “Star Wars” offshoot “The Mandalorian.” With that deep library, Disney is offering a warning that some of the streaming platform’s older content has “outdated cultural depictions.” Films like “Dumbo,” “The Aristocats,” “Lady and the Tramp” and [...]


    'Full Frontal with Samantha Bee' Renewed for Season 5 at TBS

    “Full Frontal with Samantha Bee” has been renewed for a fifth season at TBS. In addition, the cabler has renewed its first-look deal with Bee’s production company, Swimsuit Competition. Under the first-look deal, Bee and her company recently began production on an untitled spin-off project from “Full Frontal” correspondent Amy Hoggart. “I’m beyond grateful for [...]

  • Ludwig Goransson Composer

    Composer Takes Music for the 'Star Wars' Series 'The Mandalorian' to a New Universe

    Ludwig Göransson, the Oscar- and Grammy-winning composer of “Black Panther,” faced a tricky assignment when he took on “The Mandalorian,” the new “Star Wars” series launching this week on the Disney Plus streaming service. “It’s a new medium, a new set of characters — and it has a certain tech-y grittiness, because you’re dealing with [...]

  • Jon Huerta

    'This Is Us' Star Jon Huertas Builds Community With Venice's Clutch Restaurant

    “This Is Us” star Jon Huertas, who’s being honored at the Napa Valley Film Festival with Variety Vivant’s Spice Award Nov. 13, has always known he wanted a career in Hollywood. But he’s something of an accidental restaurateur. No, he didn’t exactly stumble into co-owning Clutch, one of the hottest upscale casual restaurants in Venice, [...]

  • Variety Tastemaker honoree Ayesha Curry

    Ayesha Curry's Impact Ranges From Family to Food to Philanthropy

    Ayesha Curry — wife, mother, restaurateur, author, executive producer and CoverGirl — literally does it all. Receiving Variety’s Inaugural Tastemaker award at the 2019 Napa Valley Film Festival, the entrepreneur is being recognized for her social impact in combining entertainment, philanthropy and her culinary lifestyle. Curry holds her cookbook — her first step toward a [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content