The number of households in Germany with TV reception has remained stable during the last decade, amounting to almost 38.5 million in 2019. These households differed by type of reception, though the most widespread were cable TV and satellite.
As in some other countries, German television is split into public service, private and paid (pay TV) broadcasters. Public broadcasters are funded through fees from viewers, which are collected by a central authority, ARD ZDF Deutschlandradio Beitragsservice. The name already includes three out of Germany’s nine public broadcasters. Meanwhile, the bulk of private broadcaster revenue is generated through advertising. In 2018, among German television channels, RTL achieved the highest ad revenue at over three million euros, followed by ProSieben and Sat.1. The same year, 4.7 million commercials were aired on German TV. Finally, pay TV channels are available through a subscription.
The most popular TV genres among German viewers include the news, crime series and movies, as well as programs about nature and animals. The television industry will also have to face continuing changes in consumer behavior regarding viewing, with online streaming services playing a significant contributing role in this, as well as watching programs on the go on mobile devices. The latter, however, is true for media usage in Germany in general.