Broadcasters face statutory contributions to film funding under new plans

German broadcasters are expected to be forced to make statutory contributions to the German Federal Film Board as part of a revision of the country’s film law.

The decision to proceed with the plans, which will apply to public and private broadcasters, was agreed at a meeting of the Federal Cabinet yesterday.

At present, only cinema exhibitors and the video industry make statutory contributions; while broadcasters are allowed to negotiate their contributions.

This difference in the German Film Law (FFG) led a group of cinema chains to bring an action against the FFA last year. The German Administrative Court in Leipzig ruled at the end of February 2009 that the FFA’s cinema levy was unconstitutional, and the case was referred to the Federal Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe for a final decision. The decision to revise the law should bring this action to an end.

Bernd Neumann, the German State Minister for Culture, said the introduction of statutory payments for all contributors should ensure the FFA is able to continue to support German films.

He added: “The film funding of the FFA had a decisive role in the past in the making of successful German films. The market share of German productions – which increased last year to 27%, the highest of all time – also documents its importance for the cinema operators.“

The level of the broadcasters’ contributions will be calculated according to the   number of feature films – German and foreign –  programmed in the channels’ schedules.

Neumann is aiming to have a revised FFG come into force before the summer recess this year.