Public value list published

IRIS 2022-10:1/19

Sebastian Klein

Institute of European Media Law

The Landesmedienanstalten (state media authorities) have published a so-called "public value list", ordered alphanumerically, of media (television, radio and telemedia) that, through their content, significantly contribute to the formation of public opinion. Inclusion in the public value list is meant to represent a special seal of quality for the services concerned. Public-value services were selected on the basis of the criteria set out in Article 84(5)(2) of the Medienstaatsvertrag (state media treaty – MStV), which the media authorities had explained in more detail in a statute based on Article 84(8) MStV. These criteria concern, for example, the amount of time spent reporting on political and historical events, the amount of time spent reporting on regional and local information, the ratio between in-house productions and programme content produced by third parties, the quota of European productions, and the quota of offers for young target groups. The criteria are strongly geared towards the television genre; it remains to be seen whether an evaluation of Article 84 MStV will lead to different criteria being applied to different media genres.

The list only contains private-sector services, since the public value of public services is directly defined in Article 84(3) and (4) MStV. On the whole, the media authorities were generous in their assessment of the 354 applications they received, rejecting only 54 of them. It can be assumed that they wanted to avoid making qualitative judgements about the suitability of broadcasters’ thematic emphasis. The services listed therefore range from general interest channels such as RTL or ProSieben to specialist news channels such as BILD TV or ntv, and other special-interest services such as Sport1 and Servus TV.

In the media authorities’ opinion, the listed television, radio and telemedia services make a significant contribution to the diversity of opinions. Inclusion in the public value list also provides direct benefits in terms of discoverability and can therefore help attract funding. Listed services must be easy for consumers to find on smart TVs and user interfaces. According to the state media treaty, a six-month implementation period applies in this regard (if it is technically and economically feasible).

In consultation with the public broadcasters, the state media authorities have also produced a joint list of both public and private services, which the state media treaty does not require them to do. This list is designed to provide the recommended order of channels to be used by providers of user interfaces for television, radio and telemedia services. It also takes geographical factors into account.

The state media authorities liaise closely with user interface providers and associations of such companies with regard to the implementation of these lists.


This article has been published in IRIS Legal Observations of the European Audiovisual Observatory.