German pubwebs reduce Internet offerings

After attack by commercial channels and newspapers

BERLIN -- Germany's public broadcasters will drastically reduce the programming they put online in response to attacks from commercial channels and newspapers that the online offerings represent unfair competition.

Markus Schachter, director of public broadcaster ZDF said the channel will reduce its online offerings by 70% and reduce the time catch-up programming is available for streaming. Reports on the official websites of ZDF and sister channel ARD will now be taken down after one week and reports on sporting events such as Germany's Bundesliga soccer games, will be pulled after only one day online.

Schachter also said ZDF would focus more on posting online video to its site and greatly reduce its text-only offerings. The move is a sop to the German newspaper industry, which has complained ARD and ZDF's free websites unfairly compete with the online versions of their publications.