Does the Institute of Broadcasting Technology have a future?

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Dhe future of the Institute for Broadcasting Technology (IRT) of public service broadcasters is still unclear. At a shareholders’ meeting on Thursday there was no final decision. “In a short period of time, work will continue to be carried out intensively on the possibility of a continuation. The outcome is open, ”said the institute.

The fourteen partners of the IRT – public service broadcasters from Germany, Austria and Switzerland – had terminated their contracts last year. This was preceded by an unprecedented financial scandal. For years, the institute had lost around two hundred million euros from the exploitation of a patent – MP3 technology. Sixty million of these are brought back in court by a patent attorney involved in the case that the IRT had employed. However, there is still the question of how the management of the institute and the supervisory board could avoid this for so long.

Seventy percent of the IRT is financed from subsidies from the shareholders and thirty percent from subsidies, contract research and license income. The ARD stations pay 80.8 percent of the shareholder grants. The IRT’s earnings in 2019 were 16.635 million, the expenses were EUR 24.182 million and 108 employees are employed there. The ZDF announced that it was of the opinion “that the IRT should not continue to operate as before, but should be integrated into a large research network”. However, this was “not successful despite intensive efforts”. The attempts of other shareholders to continue operating the IRT in a reduced form are supported “very constructively”.

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