7 Topics, 7 Weeks
2. Our broadcasting system is outdated
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Where does it say there have to be two public service broadcasters in Germany? Why do they run 21 TV stations to fulfil their public service mission? And what is the legal basis for reserving public funds exclusively for these providers? While I’m not the only one asking these questions, I have yet to receive any answers. Not even Germany’s Interstate Broadcasting Agreement (Rundfunkstaatsvertrag) provides any answers.
This agreement, which regulates our dual system of public service and private broadcasting, is based on Germany’s 30-year-old interstate treaty on the reform of the broadcasting system. In other words, it dates back to our analog past – an era of cathode ray tubes, devoid of the Internet or cell phones. It is this legal framework, however, which entrenches media policy principles that are no longer in sync with our highly dynamic media market or today’s media usage behavior.
The financing of institutions, for instance, is laid down by the Interstate Broadcasting Agreement. But this is out of tune with consumers’ current media usage. In our digital media landscape, content is king. It is consumed via the most diverse channels and a variety of end devices: TV and radio can also be received on tablets and cell phones, while nowadays newspapers are increasingly read online. These options have permanently altered the way we use media, which is why updating the underlying regulations is long overdue.
Add to this the fact that the advertising restrictions enshrined in the Interstate Broadcasting Agreement significantly limit our potential revenue streams. Today, we have the technology to broadcast regional advertising. Yet despite this, the regulations currently in force preclude solely television – the medium in Germany with the greatest reach – from using this more targeted advertising approach. Global Internet giants such as Google and Facebook are not subject to restrictions of this kind. Should not the law ensure a level playing field for all market participants rather than preventing it?
Germany’s Interstate Broadcasting Agreement is antiquated – even in its 19th version. Is it not high time that we abandoned outdated regulations? With the Media Regulations 4.0 model, we aim to bring the broadcasting system in line with the times. Our goal is the financing of specific and relevant content spanning all types of media rather than continuing to subsidize institutions.
Media Regulations 4.0 is our way of spurring on urgently needed reforms to the broadcasting system. Join us in embarking on a revolutionary rethinking of media policy!