Free to air television

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The term free-to-air television (also: free TV ) describes the property of a television program that it can be received unencrypted - regardless of the type of signal ( analog or digital ) or the transmission route (via antenna , cable , satellite , internet or otherwise). The opposite of programs on free-to-air television are encrypted programs, so-called pay TV, known from product names such as Teleclub , DF1 or Sky Deutschland . Exceptions are e.g. B. the programs of the ORF , which are encrypted for licensing reasons, but can be received by Austrians by paying broadcasting fees. Occasionally, the term Free- to-Air [ ːfɹi ( təˈɛɹ ] ( FTA for short ) is used as an alternative to the term Free TV .

economic aspects

On the German-speaking television market, free-to-air television includes the television programs of the public broadcasters ( ARD , ZDF , ORF , SRF ) and some commercial television programs (including Sat.1 , ProSieben and QVC ), which are mainly financed through license fees Finance television advertising or teleshopping . Both in terms of user numbers and the sales achieved, free TV in German-speaking countries, as in most countries of the world, represents the much larger segment of the television market compared to pay TV: In 2011, the advertising revenues of commercial television broadcasters in Germany alone amounted to 3.7 billion Euros more than twice as high as the total revenue from pay TV with 1.5 billion.

Free-to-air television is one of several pillars of the exploitation of audiovisual products such as films, series and sports broadcasts. As a rule, the free TV premiere of a feature film takes place at staggered intervals after the cinema premiere, the first release (e.g. on DVD) initially for rental, later for retail, and the first broadcast on pay TV. In the case of sports broadcasts, free-to-air television often offers a limited choice compared to competing offers on pay-TV: For example, on German free-to-air television only one match per match day of the UEFA Champions League is broadcast live and in full, while several on pay-TV parallel matches on the same match day are offered.

Privilege of broadcasting major events

The interstate broadcasting treaty concluded by the German federal states stipulates that certain "events of considerable social importance" are broadcast in free-to-air and generally accessible television programs and may therefore not be reserved exclusively for pay TV (Section 4). This is to prevent large parts of the population from being excluded from broadcasts of the most attractive major events for commercial reasons on the part of television broadcasters or rights holders. The protective list to which this regulation applies currently includes the following sporting events:

  1. the Summer and Winter Olympics ,
  2. At European and World Cups, all games with German participation and, regardless of German participation, the opening game, the semi-finals and the final,
  3. the semi-finals and the final for the club cup of the German Football Association ,
  4. Home and away games of the German national football team,
  5. Finals of the European club championships in football (Champions League, Europa League ) with German participation.

This regulation is based on the television directive of the European Union first adopted in 1989 , the directive 97/36 / EC of 1997 amending it, as well as the European Convention on Transfrontier Television of the Council of Europe of 1989. Similar lists of major events, which are broadcast on free-to-air television apply in most European countries. In Austria and Switzerland, apart from sporting events, major cultural and social events are also protected for free-to-air television: In Austria the Vienna Opera Ball and the New Year's Concert of the Vienna Philharmonic , in Switzerland the Swiss Wrestling and Alpine Festival .

See also

Web links

Wiktionary: Free TV  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations


Individual evidence

  1. 2011 TV revenues on the VPRT website , accessed on November 24, 2012
  2. Champions League in Free TV: Will the TV stay black for Schalke? , in: Focus of October 2, 2012, accessed on November 23, 2012
  3. Rundfunkstaatsvertrag (in the version of the 19th RÄStV, entered into force on October 1, 2016) ( Memento of June 11, 2017 in the Internet Archive ) (PDF; 643 kB)
  4. Jörn Kruse: Pay TV versus Free TV. A regulatory problem? An economic analysis of the protective lists for particularly significant events ( Memento from February 9, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) (PDF; 73 KB) in: Mike Friedrichsen (Ed.), Commerce - Communication - Consumption. On the future of television, Baden-Baden 2004, accessed on June 19, 2012
  5. Jörn Kruse: Exclusive sports television rights and protective lists ( Memento from February 9, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) (PDF; 129 KB) in: Quo vadis Wirtschaftsppolitik? Selected aspects of the current discussion, Festschrift for Norbert Eikhof , edited by Marina Gruševaja, Christoph Wonke, Ulrike Hösel and Malcolm H. Dunn, (2008, Peter Lang Verlag), accessed on June 19, 2012