According to the will of the ARD directors, Tagesschau24 should grow into a serious news channel. What the ARD chairwoman, RBB boss Patricia Schlesinger, pushed requires precise, balanced coordination with ZDF. The second and the first have been running the event and documentation channel Phoenix together for 25 years, a program that should not be restricted and certainly not jeopardized by the expansion of Tagesschau24.
Now there is a draft resolution for the next internal meeting of the ARD bosses on 21/22. June in Weimar. The paper comes from the two WDR directors Andrea Schafarczyk and Jörg Schönenborn, West German Broadcasting is the lead ARD institution for Phoenix.
The template including the attachments is headed: “Phoenix additional need as a result of the director’s agreement on cooperation with the Tagesschau for further development as a political platform”. Specifically: The staffing and financial resources must be increased for the event and documentation channel in order “to plan the increased demand for live content for Tagesschau24, Tagesschau.de, the ARD media library and, if desired, also for the ARD audio library. to be translated and made available simultaneously if necessary”.
On the other hand, Phoenix is to be further developed into a multimedia political platform “and thus also to make politics tangible in the digital world and to do justice to the public service mandate”. If Phoenix does not deliver the “whole picture” in the digital distribution channels just as reliably and competently as in the linear one (this is the broadcaster’s own claim), this threatens to fall back on the entire public service broadcaster.
The two program goals at Phoenix and at Tagesschau24 require new resources. For point 1, an additional requirement of 905,000 euros is expected by the end of the 2024 contribution period, for point 2 it is 960,000 euros. The costs in point 1 relate to two additional positions, additional expenses for the fee and technical provision. The total of 905,000 euros must be financed by the nine ARD broadcasters alone, since “it is an ARD-side cooperation”.
With the second additional requirement of 960,000 euros, which was also triggered by increased fees, additional technical equipment and distribution, ZDF had to be brought on board “to coordinate the proportionate financing”.
On the one hand, the paper argues with the sharp rise in access to Phoenix content in the media library that March was the most successful Phoenix month in the ARD media library of all time with almost 2.5 million hits. Then Phoenix should be “one of the addresses” for social media users for Bundestag debates and other live political events and could therefore also be one of the addresses for democratic exchange.
As I said, the paper comes from the WDR top. And it breathes “Cologne air”, i.e. it vehemently advertises the increase of ARD-WDR-ZDF-Phoenix and speaks in a slightly hoarse voice about the additional funds that this Berlin RBB idea to further strengthen and expand Tagesschau24 requires.
The distribution group for the template shows how many people in the ARD can bend over a project, and it shows that the ARD is at least a community like a forced community.