• Germany's news in English
 

Firms and disabled slam new TV licence fee

Published: 10 Jan 2013 12:22 GMT+01:00

From January 1, the licence fee that funds Germany's public broadcasters is being regulated differently, so that every household must pay a flat €17.98 a month, regardless of whether it actually contains a TV or radio or not.

The new rules have proven a disadvantage for businesses with multiple branches, and Rossmann announced on Thursday that it would be taking legal action against the fee, or Rundfunkbeitrag, after it found that its yearly costs would leap from €40,000 to €200,000.

Since the firm is also planning to take over branches from the bankrupt retail chain Schlecker, Rossmann's expenses could eventually be even higher - a spokesman said the "absolute" figure could be as much €291,000 a year.

Confirming a report in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, the spokesman said that Rossmann's suit was founded on the charge that the new Rundfunkbeitrag put it at a disadvantage to companies of similar size but with a business model that required fewer branches.

That view was shared by Martin Wansleben, head of the German Chambers of Commerce and Industry (DIHK), who told the Handelsblatt newspaper that the multiple-branched firms would be significantly worse off because of the new fees.

Speaking to news magazine Der Spiegel last week, Lutz Marmor, chairman of Germany's main public TV channel ARD, admitted that there had been more complaints about the licence fee than usual. "With companies that have a lot of branches, I can understand the complaints to some extent," he said. "But there are also firms who are paying less."

Marmor also admitted that there had been mistakes in collecting the new fees, such as when the individual occupants of care homes had been sent payment demands. "When I heard that, it was clear to me - that is unacceptable," he said.

There have also been complaints from disabled rights groups, who said the new rules meant that the deaf and blind would no longer be automatically exempt from paying the fee.

"The majority of people with disabilities are still being left out in the cold," Adolf Bauer, president of the SoVD, an association that represents the interests of the socially disadvantaged, told the Rheinische Post newspaper. "It is nonsense to reach into the pockets of dementia sufferers or people in care with inadequate seeing and hearing abilities."

The new rules mean that only people who are both deaf and blind will be automatically exempt from the fee, while deaf people and those with severe sight impairment only have to pay a reduced fee of €5.99 a month.

But some people may be better off under the new rules: households shared by multiple people still only have to pay once - which comes in handy for a communal living project in Düsseldorf that apparently contains 60 people. "We would like to take in people who don't want to pay," said project initiator Klaus Moskob, who would be willing to take over the extra cost.

The Local/DPA/bk

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

13:00 January 10, 2013 by blackboot11
If the benefactors of these increased fees were running ther respective operations with 'german effeciency' and not taking fat salaries, then there would be no need at all to have this fee.

they certainly have enough revenue from all the commercial advertizing that they sell... why should we have to subsidize their gloat?
13:09 January 10, 2013 by pepsionice
I would say this...if a review was conducted and it was determined that half the German public never watched any of the state-run TV networks....it'd shock the political folks. Most of the ARD/ZDF crowd are all over the age of 40. No one under the age of twenty-five watches them. So their complain is legit....why pay for something that you don't use.
14:00 January 10, 2013 by lucksi
Companies should not be required to pay this fee at all.

Everybody who works in a store/factory/whathaveyou has already paid and so has everyone who is a customer.

Because -in the end- those costs are passed on to the consumer anyway. So it is them who pay double. For something that most of them don't use nor want.

And 20 bucks a month is too much. My phone/internet bill is only 25 bucks and that is where I get the information I need. Not on some TV channels that cater to the above 60 viewership.
15:15 January 10, 2013 by Dalmation
One would want to have severe sight impairment and/or be deaf to watch that crap in the first place.
15:32 January 10, 2013 by auslanderus
One question, why have people just said ok, I will pay? When will people finally stand up and say hell no, I and 80,000,000 people say no more putting your fingers in my wallet when you want. People have a voice, use it.....
16:02 January 10, 2013 by chicagolive
The only time I have ever watched the public stations was during a national team match. Besides that never I even removed them from my regular station list. I will pay the same amount as my phone bill for something I pretty much never use. I guess games must cost the 5 billion these public operators are making. Hell if they had quality programming like BBC I would say okay but this is not so at all.
16:07 January 10, 2013 by raandy
@ auslanderus does not work like that here, people will generally go along with the rule and will inform on you if you don't.
16:15 January 10, 2013 by Dalmation
MediaMarkt will pay the same per store as a Spätverkauf laden. Another nail in the coffin of small business.

The amount of advertising on German TV as well as this cash cow should mean quality programming. However I am sure TV will not improve and the only thing worthwhile to watch will continue to be foreign programs dubbed into German. I would love to know what salaries German broadcasters pay themselves.
19:22 January 10, 2013 by Englishted
German television companies and the government are greedy ,in 2006 for the world cup in Germany they even approached F.I.F.A. to try to get the half time break extended to fit in more adverts .It was one of the only times I agreed with F.I.F.A..
09:32 January 11, 2013 by gkh50
the little shites, but I just transferred myself as a "micro" company and keep the same cost as my 1 radio.... Bastardoos.. and I do not even have a TV or watch German TV: Pick up UK On Demand stuff (no license required)
Today's headlines
Watchdog escapes breast implant fine
A breast augmentation operation in progress. Photo: DPA

Watchdog escapes breast implant fine

A French appeals court on Thursday found German safety standards body the Technische Überwachungsverein (TÜV) had "fulfilled its obligations" in certifying breast implants that were later found to be faulty and sparked a worldwide scare. READ  

Govt 'breaking promises' with new CO2 deal
The RWE brown coal plant in Niederaussem. Photo: DPA

Govt 'breaking promises' with new CO2 deal

Germany's governing coalition came to a major new agreement on carbon emissions on Wednesday evening. But the reported deal has left environmentalists feeling betrayed. READ  

Thais send kidnapper to face Munich justice
A photo used by police to track alleged kidnapper Mario S. Photo: DPA

Thais send kidnapper to face Munich justice

Thai authorities will deliver a man to Germany later this week to stand trial on accusations of kidnapping the wife of a Bavarian banker to finance his lavish lifestyle abroad. READ  

Bayern boss fuels Schweini transfer talk
Photo: DPA

Bayern boss fuels Schweini transfer talk

Speculation that Bastian Schweinsteiger is about to make a big money move to Manchester United increased on Wednesday when Bayern Munich's director of sport Matthias Sammer admitted the star's future remains unclear. READ  

NSA spied on several German ministers: report
Photo: DPA

NSA spied on several German ministers: report

New documents released by WikiLeaks show that the United States did not just tap German Chancellor Angela Merkel's phone but also eavesdropped on several ministers, Süddeutsche Zeitung reported Wednesday. READ  

'Auschwitz bookkeeper' trial nears verdict
Oskar Groening, the 'bookkeeper of Auschwitz'. Photo: DPA

'Auschwitz bookkeeper' trial nears verdict

A former SS officer known as the "bookkeeper of Auschwitz" and a woman who survived the Nazi death camp delivered wrenching testimony in a courtroom on Wednesday as his historic trial neared a verdict. READ  

Assembly robot crushes worker at Volkswagen
A photo of a Volkswagen assembly line, not related to the incident. Photo: DPA.

Assembly robot crushes worker at Volkswagen

A worker was setting up a robot at a Volkswagen factory when the machine grabbed him and pressed him against a metal slab, causing lethal injuries. READ  

Greece crisis
Greek offer 'no basis for discussion': Schäuble
Pro-EU Greeks demonstrate outside the Athens parliament on Tuesday. Photo: DPA

Greek offer 'no basis for discussion': Schäuble

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble said Wednesday crisis-hit Greece was sending mixed signals in debt talks and called on its government to "clarify its position" before negotiations with creditors can resume. READ  

Weathermen issue snow alert in heatwave
Could this be July in North Rhine-Westphalia? Photo: DPA

Weathermen issue snow alert in heatwave

The German Weather Service (DWD) issued a weather warning for North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) on Wednesday predicting 5 to 10 cm of snow and winds of up to 60 km/h. READ  

Analysis
How German media shaped the Greece crisis
Angela Merkel faces a battery of microphones and cameras at a eurozone summit in Brussels on June 22nd. Photo: DPA

How German media shaped the Greece crisis

It's often said that German Chancellor Angela Merkel is the one person who truly matters when it comes to how the eurozone deals with Greece. But how much freedom does 'Mutti' really have in the face of the public and the media? READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Sport
Is Schweini already out of the door at Bayern?
Politics
How German media shaped the Greece crisis
National
Car assembly robot crushes worker at Volkswagen
Rhineland
Weathermen red-faced over heatwave snow warning
Society
An eye for an eye? Mum protects child in playground with pepperspray
National
As it happened: Queen Elizabeth's final day in Germany
National
As it happened: Queen Elizabeth's second day in Germany
National
Queen Elizabeth II's first day in Germany - as it happened
National
Bus passengers tell fake racists where to get off
Politics
What's really in the Queen's handbag?
National
Germans say USA doesn't respect freedom
National
Yes, you CAN buy adult e-books before 10pm in Germany
VIDEO: Watch a 93-metre turbine crash to earth in slow motion
Gallery
Who's got a shot at the German Film Awards
Rhineland
Anger over 'child-free' beer garden
National
How do you do, Majestät?
National
Man defends right to pee in public with tear gas
Features
The Germans who won Waterloo for the British
Frankfurt
Should Germany ban circus animals?
Hamburg
Where people are having the most sex in Germany
Culture
Who Wants to be a Millionaire? Not this student...
National
Dresden's three-decade-long red light
Politics
Upper house calls for gay marriage now
Berlin
Berlin named 3rd-best city worldwide
Sport
In search of the toughest firefighter
Business & Money
German firms shine for European engineering students
Gallery
Hitler's paintings up for auction
National
German's 70-year search for murdered US pilot
Politics
What the G7 leaders agreed at Elmau
Business & Money
What really makes Germans happy
National
Playmobil builder leaves worldwide legacy
National
The car share that became a drug run
Politics
What Snowden revealed to Germany
Rhineland
Why wolf cubs are being raised by hand
National
Hitler's booze cave found
National
Environment makes Germany worth living in
Culture
What's top of the charts in June
Gallery
Germany's most beautiful cycle routes
Business & Money
The business case for Britain in the EU
Rhineland
Why farmers are free to pong up the countryside
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

6,949
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd