German TV Slashing Film Investment

German_flagActors, directors and producers in Germany have united to fight broadcaster cuts in the amount TV invests in feature films. Talks are ongoing with Germany’s public and private broadcasters. If nothing’s resolved, Germany’s filmmakers will write a joint letter of complaint.

The percentage of the average film’s budget provided by TV stations has already fallen from 14% in 2007 to 8% last year.

Matthias Schwarz of the German Producers Alliance tells me broadcasters are frightened about their own declining income.

Broadcasters contributed €16 million ($25 million) to features co-funded by state agency the DFFF last year. Public TV injected €11 million, private channels €5 million. In addition, German broadcasters have separate funding arrangements with Germany’s regional film funds.

On top of this, channels must give free advertising away to German films on TV. Private channels contributed €8.5 million worth of spots. Public TV made €3 million worth of ad space available.

It’s long been argued that broadcasters benefit most from film production. A film’s advertising campaign acts as free publicity for when the film’s shown on TV. Most independent producers scrape a living, while TV channels enjoy the benefits of their work on the cheap.

German TV is also trying to spend less on expensive made-for-television drama as well. Like everywhere else, broadcasters know the real money is to be made on glossy “shiny floor shows” such as X Factor.

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