Changes to the German TV and Radio License in 2013

TV set - ©Can Stock Photo Inc. / megastockerThe concept of a Television License is not completely foreign to someone moving to Germany from many countries, but the idea of a radio license probably is for many. In fact it is probably one of the many pitfalls for students moving here who do not bring a television with them but maybe a radio alarmclock.

The current system used to be quite simple. If you had just a radio, then you paid for a radio license. If you had a television, then you paid for a television license and this included your radio. Families only needed one license, regardless of how many radios and televisions they owned, as long as any offspring did not have their own income.

And you had to pay just for owning a set, even if you never even switched it on or just watched DVDs with it.

Businesses had to pay per set, so a radio license was required for each office with a radio it in and for each company car.

There were some special cases, but generally this is the way that the system worked until a few years ago. [Read more…]

When are the adverts on German TV?

Depending on which channel you are watching, there are times when it feels that there is more advertising than programming.  Of course, that’s not usually the case, and in fact there are strict rules governing advertising on television.

The first main difference between Germany and a many other countries is that even public service broadcasters are allowed to supplement their license fee income with advertising.

© are, however, only allowed to do this from Monday to Saturday before 8pm, and not on public holidays.  After 8pm some programmes may still have sponsors.

They also intersperse the individual adverts with short animations, most notably the Mainzelmännchen on ZDF.

Private channels on the other hand can show advertisements at any time of the day and on any day.

However even then some rules apply:

  1. the advertisements may not take up more than 12 minutes per hour of airtime
  2. the commercial breaks must be at least 20 minutes apart
  3. programmes for children may not have commercial breaks, only commercials between the programmes
  4. special rules apply for films – here the number of commercial breaks is defined by the length of the film

I think I’m going to try and see if the channels really do keep to these rules.  I have to admin, that at the moment I hardly see any advertisements, as I record most programmes to watch later in the evening, so I just skip over them!

(Photo ©

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