Kai Gniffke, the chairman of ARD, has highlighted the importance of investing in technology as the key to the future of public service broadcasting. In a speech at the Tutzing Evangelical Academy on Lake Starnberg, Gniffke said that high investments in technology are crucial in competing with international providers such as Netflix, Amazon, and Spotify. He emphasized his goal of making ARD the most relevant streaming provider in Germany with several hundred million euros of investment in technology over the next few years.
The first step is to set up a joint streaming network with ZDF, which could be the nucleus for something much bigger. Gniffke envisions this becoming a marketplace for all German media, creating a media infrastructure that has the chance to break the power of social networks and big platform operators. He admitted that this will cost a lot of money; therefore, they need to join forces and work together.
Gniffke also stressed the necessity of technology and artificial intelligence in combating fake images and videos and for digital watermarks to protect content. He suggested that text robots could be used for routine tasks, freeing up capacities for genuinely journalistic activities such as complex research.
Public service broadcasters finance themselves predominantly from the broadcasting fee paid by households and companies. The current contribution period runs until the end of 2024, and the current fee is 18.36 euros per month.