The monthly price for the broadcasting fee known as “GEZ” is currently EUR 18.36. As “Business Insider” reports, the sum could soon increase drastically.

The broadcasting fee, commonly known as “GEZ”, is a sensitive issue. It is difficult to avoid paying and the amount seems arbitrary. In truth, of course, the subject is more complex, but at the end of the day, for most people, what matters is what goes out of the account. The contribution is currently 18.36 euros. Compared to most streaming services, this is official – even if there is more to the program of the public broadcaster than series and films at the push of a button.

“Business Insider”: Broadcast fee could skyrocket to 25 euros

The last increase took place in August 2021. And soon ARD and ZDF will have to report their financial needs to the Commission for Determining the Financial Needs of Broadcasters (KEF). Deadline is April 28th. Those responsible may have big plans if a report by “Business Insider” that refers to “ARD files” is correct. Because internal strategy papers should show that an increase of 6.93 euros per month is planned. This would increase the contribution to a total of EUR 25.19 – or by 37 percent.

What ARD, ZDF, Deutschlandradio and Arte need the money for is not entirely clear. It is conceivable that one wants to use it to gain funds for the latest technology in order to become – or remain – technically equal to the said streaming services. As the technology magazine “Golem” reported, the ARD chairman Kai Gniffke spoke at the Evangelische Akademie Tutzing am Starnberger See that the broadcasters wanted to invest “several hundred million euros” in the coming years. The aim is to create “a marketplace for all German media”, i.e. a common streaming platform.

Budget for public broadcasters number 1 in Europe

The rumors about the drastic increase come at a bad time for the broadcasters. The Institute for Media Policy (IfM) recently calculated that the budget of public broadcasters for this year is over ten billion euros. The ARD accounts for the lion’s share, whose total income is said to be 7.25 billion euros. The IfM writes: “The total budget of the public broadcasting system with the highest turnover in the world was 5.9 billion euros in 1995; in 2017 it was 8.8 billion. From 1995 to 2023 the total income of ARD, ZDF and Deutschlandradio increased by 4. 1 billion euros and thus increased by around 70 percent.”

According to the results of the calculations, the German broadcasters are already far ahead of their British, French or Italian counterparts.

In addition, some broadcasters from the public service offer have attracted attention in recent months with downright wasteful monetary policy. The scandal surrounding RBB director Patricia Schlesinger was less than a year ago (ex-RBB director demands 18,384.54 euros per month), her successor has already made headlines herself (new RBB boss should collect rent subsidy). There are also reports of comparatively exorbitant pensions from former managers and enormous pension payments, for example for MDR boss Karola Wille, who, according to the “BILD” newspaper, can expect a monthly pension of 18,000 euros.

ARD denied

ARD denies the report by “Business Insider” to the German Press Agency. Accordingly, a spokeswoman said: “The broadcasters report their needs to the KEF, no financing gaps and certainly no concrete contributions.” At the same time, she emphasized that nothing was fixed yet: “The procedure provides for the registration to be sent to the KEF by the end of April. Internal consultations in the ARD and changes to the registration are possible until the end of April.”

As soon as the need has been registered, the KEF first deals with the information provided by the broadcasters. It will then publish a recommendation by February 2024. The federal states then have the last word. According to the DPA, several prime ministers, including Söder and Haseloff, have already signaled that they cannot imagine an increase.