Broadcaster fees could jump to €19 per month: report

Broadcaster fees could jump to €19 per month: report
Photo: DPA.
Those monthly fees all residents have to pay towards public broadcasting could get steeper in the next five years, officials say.

Germany's mandatory monthly broadcaster fee levied on households could increase from €17.50 to €19 in the next five years, media magazine Medienkorrespondenz reported on Thursday.

The commission to determine the financial requirements of broadcasters, KEF, met in February to discuss the fees and estimated that for the next contract period between 2017 and 2020, broadcasters would take in more revenues than they needed, to the tune of more than €500 million.

Given this expected surplus, the commission suggested two plans: either the broadcasters lower the fee to €17.21 per month, or keep it at its current level.

With either plan, the contribution would still need to be increased to at least €19 by the following contract period starting in 2021 to keep up with budgetary needs, according to Medienkorrespondenz .

The expected surplus is due to a change implemented in 2013 where all households must pay the fee, regardless of whether they have a television or radio.

KEF is supposed to present a final report of recommendations on April 13th in Mainz.

The collection of broadcaster fees has long been a source of contention among residents who feel the blanket contribution, regardless of whether households actually tune in to the public content, is unfair.

A case against public broadcasters was brought recently before a German high court, but the judges ultimately sided with the television and radio providers. The plaintiffs could still appeal to the Constitutional Court.

Before 2013, the contribution was charged based on how many televisions or radios each household owned, with some people refusing to answer the door when inspectors came around to count, or simply hiding their devices from sight.

A recent survey by opinion research firm INSA and magazine Focus showed that 70 percent of respondents said they no longer wanted to pay the fees.

Various groups have also organized online to “boycott” the fees and give each other advice when they start to receive letters threatening to seize assets if they don't pay up.

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