mercredi 7 mars 2012

Public TV and the Web

iPhone free app
In its Annual Report 2011 published 7 March 2012, Axel Springer AG lists "the expansion of state-owned TV stations into the Internet" as a "political and legal risk" for its group. Axel Springer AG targets a news app published by ARD, the leading public German channel. "tagesschau" is a "text-oriented news app", claiming to be "Die Nachrichten der ARD" (news of the ARD). It is a free app whereas news apps developed by RTL or Springer are paid (0,79 € / month for the Bild App, 2,99 for the FAZ).

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:, (santé),, 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

3 commentaires:

Dani unifr a dit…

Clearly, the competition between private and public media will have its main focus on the Internet. Because more and more, people tend to gather information online via smart phones or computers. The arguments of both sides are comprehensible: on the one hand, public media follow a certain assignment to inform the citizens about certain aspects of life (general information, political information, integration) which takes place more and more online. On the other side, private media do have to cover all their costs by themselves. That suppresses a fair competition from the beginning. It also something that is discussed intensively in Switzerland. The Swiss broadcast association SRG also offers several “apps” that can be used on smart phones, while it has an fully developed online news site too. In Switzerland, the discussion is more about the possibility and limitation of online advertising. Should they be allowed or not, would t weak the private competitors, what would be the consequences?

And a legal opinion written by Prof. Dr. Urs Saxer for “Verband Schweizer Medien”

Jonas Wechsler (fribourg) a dit…

Dani raised some good points here. In my opinion I think there's a simple solution to this problem. State owned and therefore public tv-stations should be able to publish news also on the internet as long as the news are of public matter as defined here:

Véronique Karger a dit…

I think that public TV and the Web are 2 completely different things.
You can't forbid a TV Channel to provide free news on the web no matter if its a public or a private TV channel.
You get free information all over the internet, so why shouldn't ARD be allowed to deliver news for free?