For many years now, public broadcasting in Germany has been saving money. The RBB is again planning to make a large sum of money for the coming year. It is also reorganizing its program structures.
Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg (RBB) wants to save around 30 million euros next year. This corresponds to slightly more than 5 percent of the total budget, according to a statement by the broadcaster on Thursday after the meeting of the Broadcasting Council. There, Director General Patricia Schlesinger presented the plans of the public broadcaster ARD. She emphasized: “We have promised savings and are implementing them in the interests of the contributors.
Among other things, the planned savings are to be achieved in this way: Material expenses are to be reduced by five percent across the board, the investment budget is to be cut and the budget for temporary staff is to be halved, she continued. More than 5 million Euro are to be saved in the program.
The public broadcasting stations of ARD, ZDF and Deutschlandradio have been on a strict austerity course for some time. Many jobs have been cut and structures optimized over time. In May, it was announced that Norddeutscher Rundfunk (NDR) would once again tighten its austerity measures and save around 300 million euros over the next four years, 60 million euros more than previously planned.
Schlesinger, who was only recently re-elected for a second term as RBB Director General, emphasized: “We have already started to limit our expenditure in 2017. She added that these measures would result in reductions of around 10 million euros in the new contribution period. Now the amount is being increased by a further 20 million euros.
However, all this is based on the assumption that the radio licence fee will increase by 86 cents from EUR 17.50 to EUR 18.36 as of January 1, 2021 – this would mean that the monthly fee would rise again for the first time since 2009. This was decided by the Minister Presidents in the summer. However, all state parliaments without exception still have to approve it. In Saxony-Anhalt in particular, there is a headwind from the ranks of the CDU faction as coalition partner.
The RBB also wants to change its program structures. Four areas will be created: Information, society, culture and sports. RBB Program Director Jan Schulte-Kellinghaus said: “Employees will no longer organize themselves according to radio waves or television broadcasts, but according to genre and professional competence. This way, he said, one could serve several playout channels and enable more content for different platforms.
At RBB, according to the announcement, “new, digital playout channels should in future be available for all content on an equal footing with the classic playout channels such as radio and television.