The German public broadcasters, ARD, ZDF, and Deutschlandfunk, are planning to have a budget of over 10 billion euros for the first time in 2023, according to calculations by the Institute for Media Policy (IfM). ARD will have the largest budget at 7.25 billion euros, followed by ZDF with 2.501 billion euros, and Deutschlandradio with 276 million euros. About 85 percent of the income will come from the license fee paid by households and companies, with the rest coming from advertising, sponsorship, and other income. The budget of public broadcasters has grown significantly in recent years, with an increase of 70 percent from 1995 to 2023, according to the IfM.
Comparatively, the total revenue of the BBC in 2022 was equivalent to 6.25 billion euros, France Télévisions came to around 2.8 billion in 2021, and the Italian broadcaster RAI to 2.5 billion euros. However, the purchasing power of the budget has decreased by 38 percent due to inflation.
The broadcasting fee in Germany is currently EUR 18.36 per month, and the contribution period runs until the end of 2024. The broadcasters are registering for the future contribution to the Commission for Determining the Financial Needs of Broadcasters (KEF), which determines the need and makes a recommendation for the amount. The final decision rests with the federal states. The German journalists’ association DJV has campaigned for an increase in the fee, citing high price increases in all areas.
The broadcasting fee could increase to over 20 euros for the contribution period from 2025 to 2028, according to Business Insider. An internal ARD strategy paper showed that the directors calculated in June 2022 with an increase to up to 25.19 euros per month. However, it remains to be seen whether they will actually enter the race with this requirement. The scandal surrounding the former RBB director Patricia Schlesinger, who was accused of infidelity and taking advantage, may not offer a good climate for significant increases in contributions.
On the other hand, ARD chairman Kai Gniffke recently announced high investments in technology, which are a key for the future of public broadcasters. Regardless, it’s still unclear whether the broadcasting fee will increase or not.