Broadcasting fee: Record income in 2021 – we pay more than ever before

In 2021, Germans paid more broadcasting fees than ever before – the reason. In 2022, the sum of the radio fee collected will increase even further.

The ARD ZDF Deutschlandradio Contribution Service collected significantly more broadcasting fees in 2021 than in the previous year. The reason is obvious: since August 2021, the contribution service has been collecting a higher broadcasting fee.

Record from 2021 will be surpassed again in 2022

The income from the broadcasting contribution was around 8.42 billion euros in 2021: A total of 8.26 billion euros went to ARD, ZDF and Deutschlandradio, 159 million euros went to the state media authorities, as reported by the contribution service. That is an increase of 3.8 percent compared to 2020 – despite Corona and the possibility of exemption from contributions decided by the broadcasters for business premises that had to close as part of the lockdowns. The reason for the increase in income is the adjustment of the broadcasting fee to EUR 18.36 per month decided by the Federal Constitutional Court, which the contribution service implemented at the beginning of August 2021. Therefore, the income from the broadcasting fee should increase significantly again in 2022, because the increased fee will then be collected throughout the year and not just for half the year as in 2021.

number of apartments

The income increased only because of the increase in the contribution, the number of apartments registered for the broadcasting contribution remained almost constant, as reported by the contribution service. To be more precise: the number of apartments registered for broadcasting fees rose by 0.12 percent to around 39.71 million (2020: 39.66 million) – these could be newly built apartments. In the year under review, numerous apartments belonging to contributors who could no longer be used as a result of the flood of the century in the summer of 2021 were temporarily deregistered.

A nationwide comparison of registration data will start at the end of 2022. The contribution service will then know whether all apartments subject to contributions have actually been recorded.

business premises

The contribution service also reports that the number of business premises exempted due to corona has increased significantly. As of December 31, 2021, the contribution service had exempted a total of 28,816 business premises from the obligation to pay contributions due to a closure ordered by law or the authorities due to Corona (2020: 1,412).

Fewer exemptions

The exemptions in the private sector, on the other hand, are declining again. The number of people who were exempt from broadcasting fees for social reasons was just under 2.49 million as of December 31, 2021, around 5.2 percent below the previous year’s figure (2020: 2.63 million). This development would follow the German labor market: There, too, the number of recipients of unemployment benefit II (ALG II), which make up around two-thirds of those exempted, declined again in 2021.

Test: This is how the exemption from the broadcasting fee works

The Corona crisis therefore had no noticeable effects on the number of exemptions in 2021 either. The background, as the contribution service explains, is that people who have lost their job due to the pandemic usually first receive unemployment benefit I and are therefore not yet entitled to an exemption. The same applies to people who temporarily receive short-time work benefits.

The total stock of contribution accounts decreased slightly to 45.74 million in 2021 (2020: 45.94 million).

This is how much it costs to collect the broadcasting fee

The contribution service wants to have reduced the costs of collecting contributions by 2021. According to the company, the total expenses for collecting contributions fell by EUR 3.3 million to EUR 172.75 million (-1.9 percent). The average cost per contribution account has also fallen and averaged around EUR 3.78 for the year (2020: EUR 3.83).

The broadcasting fee will probably continue to rise – that’s the reason

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