In the competition for viewers, European pubcasters can’t call on shareholders for support the way their commercial counterparts can, but they can rely on each other. With this in mind, Germany’s ZDF and Italy’s RAI recently signed a long-term cooperation agreement, with the goal of facilitating access to one another’s news, sports, production and archive material.
Giacomo Mazzone, RAI’s head of international relations, explains that while ZDF and RAI already had access to one another’s news material as members of the European Broadcast Union, the pact makes the process smoother. ‘There is a problem [among EBU countries] of regulating access – conditions, copyright, length, etc. The basic content of the contract regulates grey zones that could create misunderstandings, problems or delays in the access to materials, like the news, where fast access is crucial.’
Mazzone also notes that the deal between RAI and ZDF is meant to encourage coproductions between the pubcasters. ‘This is a long-term agreement, in the sense that we are forming the basis for future collaborations.’
ZDF has similar agreements in place with ITN in the U.K., Russia’s RTR, CCTV in China, NBC in the U.S. and Japan’s TBS.