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ProSiebenSat.1 develops “Media Regulations 4.0” model to promote diversity of opinion in young target groups

  • Broadcasting group calls for institution-independent funding of public service content
  • Study by media law expert Professor Mark Cole confirms the legal feasibilty

Munich, 3 July 2017. With “Media Regulations 4.0”, ProSiebenSat.1 Media SE is presenting a model prompting discussion about the realignment of media policy in Germany. The aim is to reach a larger number of young people with public service content to promote democratic values, contribute to societal discourse and enhance social coherence. At the moment, private broadcasters in Germany generally receive no financial support for content. But a digital ecosystem with strong public and private content providers forms the basis for diversity of opinion and media pluralism.

Key elements of the model
The remit of public service needs to be defined by politics and to be laid down in legislation in the Interstate Broadcasting Treaty (Rundfunkstaatsvertrag). Private content providers are able to submit their concepts in a concession procedure. An independent non-governmental commission determines the financing conditions and is in charge of granting funds and monitoring compliance with remit.

Conrad Albert, Member of the Executive Board and General Counsel of ProSiebenSat.1 Media SE: “With ‘Media Regulations 4.0’, ProSiebenSat.1 wants to make a constructive contribution to the ongoing discussion on media policy. It is extremely important for our social coherence to get involved now in order to ensure diversity of media and opinions. First and foremost, this commitment must focus on the young audiences because they are the voters of tomorrow.”

Promoting diversity of opinion among young audiences in particular
Television is the medium with the highest reach in Germany. At the same time, there has been a change in media use as a result of digitalization and the growing significance of the Internet. In addition, global players are dominating access to content. This is a relevant challenge for society as information is increasingly being filtered by algorithms, and younger target groups in particular are becoming increasingly active in digital parallel universes.

The generational gap is apparent primarily in the aging viewership of public broadcasters. This is why the existing model needs to be reformed now. Minister Presidents have called on heads of public broadcasters to work on structural reforms and present their models this fall. Funds that will be made available in the course of this process can be used to finance socially relevant public service content in a targeted manner – without increasing the license fee.

“With ‘Media Regulations 4.0’, Germany would be setting new standards for forward-looking media policies,” continues Conrad Albert. “In the age of digitalization, it is also fundamental to define a regulatory framework for a strong dual system and jointly find an effective approach to appropriately address the narrowing of the political horizon due to filter bubbles. In the 2017 election year, this will need to be discussed more seriously than ever. Television plays a key role and is the medium with the highest reach. We reach around 44 million TV households with our channels every day. We are aware of the great responsibility we have in the media.”

Legal framework for “Media Regulations 4.0”
ProSiebenSat.1 Media SE commissioned Professor Dr. iur. Mark D. Cole (University of Luxembourg) together with Professor Dr. iur. Jan Oster (University of Leiden) to examine the applicable legal framework for a better understanding of opportunities and challenges to promote public service content in Germany in this way. The main finding of this comprehensive study is that there are no regulations in federal, national and European law that oppose such a “Media Regulations 4.0” model. In fact, both the law and case law highlight the special role of private broadcasters in ensuring media pluralism. State aid law allows for financial support of private providers.

The study and an executive summary are available for download at www.prosiebensat1.com.

Executive Summary of the study of Prof. Cole
Study of Prof. Cole (available only in German)
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