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IRIS 2017-3:1/11


ZDF agrees new guidelines with TV production companies

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Ingo Beckendorf

Institute of European Media Law (EMR), Saarbrücken/Brussels

ZDF has drawn up a new set of guidelines with television production companies in order to support the German creative industry. According to a joint press release issued by the public service broadcaster and producer associations on 13 December 2016, under the new agreement, production companies will benefit financially from the online exploitation of their work in particular.  

ZDF is the largest single customer in the German TV production market. Under one of the new agreement’s key provisions, a one-off additional payment of up to 1% above the figure previously agreed in the production contract will be paid for fully financed, commissioned productions that remain accessible via ZDF’s telemedia services for more than 30 days. This payment will be capped at EUR 1.5 million. ZDF will also support the development of successful programmes and the creative industry with its small and medium-sized production companies, and will set up an innovation fund worth EUR 2 million each year. This will be used to finance project and script development contracts, for example.

The new guidelines also state that whenever ZDF does not fully finance a production, the production company concerned will receive exploitation rights in proportion to the value of its own investment. It will also retain such rights if concepts and ideas that it develops on the broadcaster’s behalf and that are financed by the new innovation fund are not used. In such cases, the production company concerned can use the results of its work in the future.

The new guidelines also take into account the protocol declaration of the Länder on the 19th Rundfunkänderungsstaatsvertrag (Agreement Amending the Inter-State Broadcasting Agreement). In the declaration, the Länder acknowledged the progress made in terms of balanced contractual conditions between public service broadcasters and film and television production companies that have been achieved in recent years through partnership agreements, and called for appropriate contractual conditions to be continued in the future.

ZDF will initially apply these guidelines to commissioned productions during the funding period ending on 31 December 2020. It will hold annual consultations with the production companies or the relevant producer associations to discuss the practical implementation and application of the guidelines.

The key principles on the transparency of cooperation with producers of commissioned television productions, agreed by ZDF and the Allianz Deutscher Produzenten (German Producers’ Alliance) in 2014, remain valid.

Das ZDF und die Fernsehproduzenten - Rahmenbedingungen einer fairen Zusammenarbeit DE
  ZDF and TV production companies - a framework for fair cooperation