|iPhone free app|
Since ARD is financed by a licence fee ("Rundfunkgebühren"), a sort of a tax paid by each German household (18 € / month), Axel Springer AG complains that this is unfair competition. The group has filed a lawsuit against ARD. The results of this lawsuit could affect the business model of all public channels on the Net.
This is far from a trivial matter
In most European countries, public radio and television have developed free news apps and websites which could all be perceived by the private media as unfair competition.
This poses the question of the diversification of the public services financed by "taxes". Is the Web a different market or a logical extension of their core business (TV and radio programs) ?
N.B. Axel Springer AG is one of the major media groups in Europe; in addition to newspapers (Bild, Die Welt) and magazines, the group owns many websites: aufeminin.com, onmeda.de (santé), seloger.com, etc. The Group is active in many European countries (France, Russia, Spain, Switzerland, etc.)
in German, Geschäftsbericht 2011, "Politische und rechtliche Risiken", Seite 70
in English, Annual Report 2011, "Political and legal risks", page 73