Broadcasting Commission on ARD and ZDF: countries are pushing for a common platform

Broadcasting Commission on ARD and ZDF: countries are pushing for a common platform

From: 01/20/2023 19:02

States want reform ARD and ZDF advance. The Broadcasting Commission therefore called for more economics during its examination. In the future, broadcasters must play content through a common platform.

The federal states called for public service broadcasting reforms. You propose a single large platform in Germany. We want to get away from media and audio libraries, which were an intermediary form, said State Broadcasting Commission Coordinator and Rhineland-Palatinate Media Secretary Heike Raab (SPD) after a two-day commission retreat in Rhineland-Palatinate .

She also referred to the common practice of Spotify and Netflix, for example, that they bundle a large amount of content on one platform. Raab said: “We have identified more than 100 applications in the public sector. This cannot be the solution either.”

Until now, ARD and ZDF, as well as Deutschlandradio, have had their own platforms, which also refer to offers from other houses. The platform must have central access, Raab said. It is desirable that ARD and ZDF also include the cultural channels 3sat and Arte on the joint platform in order to strengthen European content, said Raab. The idea should then become more concrete in February, at the next meeting.

At the same time, it was emphasized after the examination that the journalistic competition between ARD and ZDF was desired to continue.

“The RBB Crisis Destroyed Confidence”

The Broadcasting Commission also identified a loss of confidence in public service broadcasting. “The RBB crisis also destroyed confidence in the summer, which must be regained,” Raab said, referring to Rundfunk Berlin Brandenburg. It must be about bringing public broadcasting into the digital age and at the same time improving quality.

Schenk: Eliminate duplicate structures

The current platform strategy of public broadcasters can only be a first step, added Saxony’s Media Minister Oliver Schenk (CDU). In the long term, the goal is to eliminate duplicate structures. Raab said states also hope public broadcasters will seize the opportunity to discontinue special interest channels and save money as a result. Public broadcasters have that opportunity under the state’s Third Amendment Media Treaty, which is being discussed in state legislatures and is scheduled to take effect in the summer.

Media politicians also want to create an advisory body for the future of public service broadcasting. A “Future Council” is to quickly come up with recommendations for reform. Representatives of science and technology, as well as creative people, should gather there, explained Schenk. The Council must also work towards acceptance of public service broadcasting. Specific names were not mentioned. The federal states would more precisely decide by Feb. 15 who they want to nominate for the future commission, Raab said.

Hundreds of millions as special reserve

Schenk said the federal states have not discussed merging public law institutions. There are good reasons to keep certain structures in regions. However, federal states expected institutions to save money through more and better cooperation, which they, in turn, could put into the program. States cannot guarantee that the transmission rate remains stable, the CDU politician said.

Raab added that broadcasters must contribute a triple-digit million amount to a one-time special reserve. This is to be used in the future in the context of funding contributions “obviously reducing contributions”. Both politicians declined to comment on the broadcast’s future contribution. Here, the Commission for Reviewing and Determining the Financial Needs of Broadcasters (KEF) will make a recommendation in the future.

Gniffke: Reinforces ARD in its course

Since the RBB scandal surrounding accusations of nepotism at the top of the broadcaster, criticism of the public broadcaster has gained momentum again. In the course of this, the debate over merging transmitters arose again. Media policy in Germany is a matter for the federal states. Federal states establish the approximate structure of public law in state treaties. Broadcasters themselves are responsible for program content.

In reaction, the ZDF said: We welcome the federal states’ “clear commitment to public service broadcasting and journalistic competition between the ZDF and the ARD”. ZDF will be involved in the announced reform process and help shape it. ARD President Kai Gniffke said: “The Broadcasting Commission is demanding more speed from us in building a public service platform for all across Germany. This encourages ARD on its course towards more innovation, sharing of reliable work and quality.” He’s happy with this tailwind, which will be used to “change ARD more sustainably than ever before in its history.”