Income from the license fee for public service broadcasting in Germany increased last year.
In 2021 they were around 8.42 billion euros and thus almost four percent and around 311 million euros above the previous year’s value, as the administrative community contribution service of ARD, ZDF and Deutschlandradio announced on Tuesday in Cologne.
The increase in the broadcasting fee paid by households and companies was given as the reason for the increase despite the corona pandemic. In 2021, it rose by 86 cents from EUR 17.50 a month to EUR 18.36, and the increase has been implemented since the beginning of August. Before that, there had been a dispute among the states, Saxony-Anhalt was the only state to resist the increase, which was actually supposed to be implemented by January 2021. Ultimately, the Federal Constitutional Court decided in the summer of 2021 that the increase would come.
The broadcasting fee is the main source of income for ARD, ZDF and Deutschlandradio. The federal states determine the amount by state treaty. In 2020, revenues were 8.11 billion euros, in 2019 8.07 billion. The value has been increasing since 2017. The independent media regulators – the state media authorities – also get a smaller share of the income.
The head of the finance and services division at the contribution service, Bernd Roßkopf, said that the Ukraine war has not yet had any impact on the collection of contributions. At the same time, one takes note of the inflation rate and one can expect that economic development in Germany will be difficult in the coming years. It is not yet possible to assess what the consequences of this will be for the collection of contributions and the earnings situation. “We’re dealing with it,” he said.
In 2021, the nine ARD broadcasters accounted for the largest share of the income from the broadcasting fee, at around 5.9 billion euros. West German Broadcasting (WDR), the largest ARD broadcaster, received around 1.24 billion euros, followed by Südwestrundfunk (SWR) with around 1.07 billion and North German Broadcasting (NDR) with around 1.03 billion euros. ZDF, headquartered in Mainz, received around 2.1 billion euros, Deutschlandradio 243 million euros.
In Germany there are around 45.7 million contribution accounts (2020: 45.94 million), according to the contribution service. Of these, more than 39 million are households.
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