ARD, Germany's public broadcasting network plans to cut its spending on film production and acquisition by Euros 100m over the next four years from 2005.

Speaking to the German news agency dpa, Hans Wolfgang Jurgan of the film licensing subsidiary Degeto Film said that the present annual expenditure of Euros 240m-250m would be reduced by around 10%, although it was not planning to reduce the number of programme slots or increase the number of repeats. The network would rather make savings on productions and acquire fewer expensive feature films, Jurgan said.

At the same time, ARD and fellow public broadcaster ZDF have signed an extension of the Film/Television Agreement with the German Federal Film Board (FFA) committing a total of Euros 11m per year until the end of 2008.

Commenting on the public stations' acceptance to double their contribution to the FFA, Germany's State Minister for Culture Christina Weiss said that this would "enable the German cinema at last to be placed financially on a more solid foundation."