Germany profile - Media

Bild front page Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption A giant front page of the popular paper Bild recalls the day the German Joseph Ratzinger was appointed Pope

Germany's competitive television market is the largest in Europe, with some 34 million TV households.

The many regional and national public broadcasters - organised in line with the federal political structure - vie for audiences with powerful commercial operators. Each of the 16 regions regulates its own private and public broadcasting.

Around 90% of German households have cable or satellite TV, and viewers enjoy a comprehensive mix of free-to-view public and commercial channels. This has acted as a brake on the development of pay-TV.

Germany is home to some of the world's largest media conglomerates, including Bertelsmann and the publisher Axel Springer. Some of Germany's top free-to-air commercial TV networks are owned by ProSiebenSat1.

Germany has completed the switch to digital terrestrial TV broadcasting. Public broadcasters ZDF and ARD offer a range of digital-only channels.

While the press and broadcasters are free and independent, the display of swastikas and statements endorsing Nazism are illegal.

There are several national newspapers, but the press market is strongest at a regional level, with more than 300 titles. The Bild tabloid is the best-selling daily.

By 2014, 71.7 million people were online, reported. The leading social network is Facebook, with more than 25 million users. Its rivals include meinVZ.

The press


  • ARD - organisation of regional public broadcasters; operates Das Erste, the main national public TV channel
  • ZDF - operates second national public TV channel
  • n-tv - commercial, rolling-news
  • N24 - commercial, rolling news
  • RTL - major commercial broadcaster, operates entertainment channels
  • DW-TV - Germany's international TV, in German, English, Spanish, Arabic
  • Sky - pay-TV operator


  • ARD - umbrella organisation of public radio services, including those of individual regions
  • Deutschlandradio - operates national public stations Deutschlandfunk and Deutschlandradio Kultur, both offering current affairs and cultural programmes
  • Deutsche Welle - international radio,, services in many languages

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