I skipped watching it last night but ARD ran a fairly long episode in prime-time called 'ARD-Check'....a live show which featured the top-level management folks and a number of participants in the audience....to chat over the current view by the public of state-run TV and the TV tax (media tax, if you prefer).
Several journalists have written up commentary of the piece....saying it was mostly a fair review and laid down the chief purpose of the chat....preparing people for another increase on the yearly fee (roughly 240 Euro a year per household). It won't happen this year or next....but some people expect it within three years to be pushed by the state-run TV folks.
So, they chatted over the money spent, the limited production of quality shows because they only have X-amount of money to spend, and then got around to the topic of why younger viewers have no interest in the state-run TV gimmick. As one young guy from the audience explained.....he doesn't watch their listing of shows any longer.....he has Netflix and downloads what he desires.
This is a trend that I've talked about on numerous occasions about German culture, German youth, and the direction where things are going.
ARD says they need to create another network, on top of the twenty-odd stations they already run.....that emphasizes the 15-to-25 year old age group. How they will bring some kind of format that will be appreciated by the viewers....is unknown. Most people would say that there's just not the money there to support the material that attracts younger viewers, and the lack of enthusiasm to use American-created programming on ARD might be a hindrance.
If you go and ask most German teens.....both Flash and Arrow are magnets for the younger generation of German viewers.
You would think the whole topic of state-run TV would be a rarely discussed topic. But once you cross the line and there's some two-hundred Euro a year that comes out of your pocket.....then most every German has some opinion, and it'll be shared if a discussion starts up. The over-forty crowd thinks generally that state-run TV needs to stay and be part of offerings (probably over sixty-percent will say this). For the under-thirty crowd....it's way down around the twenty-percent level of people who support the idea and don't mind the yearly taxation.
Why they don't just shuffle the media tax into the whole big bucket (income taxes, gas taxes, etc)? Well, there's always been this way that you could declare that you have NO TV or radio.....and thus could avoid paying the tax. In the 1960s or 1970s....there were still ten-percent of the nation that could claim they weren't interested in this TV "fad". Today? No one ever says much over the numbers of people who have no TV or radio. My humble guess is that it's growing slightly because of younger folks having only a laptop instead of an actual TV.
ARD has a tough road ahead, and trying to generate enthusiasm for a rate increase....is a pretty rough thing to accomplish.