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Germany – (E5) Affordable public and private news media

Score in short:

A full media supply is affordable for large sectors of the German society.

Score in detail:

In 2008, the average GDP per capita was about 28.800 €4. To run a radio or TV set one has to pay general licence fees: 5.52 € for radio alone, and 17.03 € for both TV and radio (GEZ). Cable networks charge, depending on provider and region, between 14.90 € and 19.99 € for a monthly cable TV connection. In addition to this monthly fee, one has to pay a one-time connection fee of between 14.90 € and 49.50 € (Jahrbuch Fernsehen 2009, p. 297). Monthly subscription for newspapers costs about 21.12 € (World Press Trends 2008, p. 392) – this is the most current figure from 2007. And finally, the monthly cost for access to broadband internet starts at 9.99 € – there are a lot of suppliers today who offer access to broadband in combination with cable TV, mobile or stationary telephone services or energy, so that the costs of “pure” access are quite hard to determine. This means full supply with cable TV, radio, newspaper subscription and broadband internet costs at least 63.04 € per month, or 756.48 € per year. This is 2.6 % of the average GDP per capita and seems to be quite affordable.

Also, it needs to be considered that average income does not tell us anything about income allocation. The allocation of income is obviously not homogeneous, and consequently there will be some households with a very high and many households with a very low income. There is a growing section of socially disadvantaged people on welfare receiving state transfers of only 351 € per month / 4212 € per year. Although they are exempt from licence fees, a full media supply with Internet, newspaper and cable TV would still cost them 46.03 € a month or 552.12 € per year, i.e., 13.1 % of their income.

Then again, while the prices for access to broadband in combination with telephone services5 were cut by 93.4 % (compared to 2000), the prices for newspapers and magazines increased by 108.8 % (compared to 2000).