Germany: Two channels being axed for online youth PSB channel

EUROPE | German public broadcasters have been given the green light to launch a youth channel, but it will only be available online.

In a move that viewers in the UK may compare with BBC Three and BBC Four being axed to pay for an online BBC Three, Germany's ARD and ZDF will have to scrap existing channels ZDF Kultur and EinsPlus.

German politicians have decreed that ARD and ZDF can launch a dedicated youth channel from next year, but only if it's online. To pay for the channel, each broadcaster will have to sacrifice one of their digital TV channels.

ZDF Kultur replays archive and cultural programmes, including vintage music shows. It replaced ZDF's theatre channel in 2011. EinPlus devotes a vast chunk of its schedule to public service programming for the under 30s. Both channels are now due to close at the beginning of 2016.

It's not the end for public service broadcasting specialising in culture and the arts in Germany - both ARD and ZDF continue to part-finance 3sat, in co-operation with public service broadcasters in Austria and Switzerland, and arte - the Franco-German arts channel also benefits from public funding.

In Germany, each household must pay €17.50 per month (€210 a year) for public service broadcasting, regardless of whether they have a TV or not or whether they access TV via catch-up. The broadcasting charge was recently reduced from €17.98 a month.

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