No economic perspective: Institute for Broadcasting Technology is closed

The Institute for Broadcasting Technology (IRT) of the public broadcasters in Germany and other broadcasters in the German-speaking countries is closed. The shareholders of the institute decided this at another special meeting. They were unable to find a “viable continuation model,” a press release said. The institute’s 60-year history will come to an end.

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After all 14 partners had given up their shareholder relationship in short succession at the end of last year, the future of the institute was open. The deadline expires at the end of this year. Most recently, a meeting in late July had failed. The decision has now been made in another special session: the institute is closed, the partners’ dismissals remain in effect. It was said that “no reliable economic future prospects could be developed”. A social plan should now be drawn up for the approximately 100 employees (including many engineers) at the Munich location.

Originally, the ZDF had spoken out against continued operation of the IRT in its current form and for integration into a large research network. Because the broadcaster could not enforce this position, he quit his membership, whereupon all other partners also quit.

The IRT is a research facility for radio and media technology. The aim is to develop new technologies for broadcasting, for example in the areas of wireless production technology for better transmissions, artificial intelligence or the 5G mobile communications standard. The 14 partners in Germany are the public channels of ARD, ZDF, Deutschlandfunk and Deutscher Welle as well as ORF in Austria and SRG in Switzerland. The IRT is financed 70 percent from shareholder grants and 30 percent from funding, contract research and license income.


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