Television Licence (der Rundfunkbeitrag/GEZ-Gebühr)
The first thing you are likely to get in your new mailbox after registering at the Bürgeramt is a reminder to pay your TV & radio broadcasting fees.
The 2023 fees are €18.36 per month and can be paid quarterly (€55.08) or €220.32 per year
The fee is mandatory.
Every household in Germany has to pay the fee even if you do not own a TV or radio. It does not matter if you have subscriptions to Sky, Netflix etc.
You can apply for an exemption or a reduction.
When you rent a place where it is included in the price (always ask!!!), or your flatmate is already paying, you have to let the GEZ know that someone else is paying on your behalf.
You can find the form on this site
You can also find more information on the official website, it is only available in German.
Please inform yourself about broadcasting rules and copyrights governed by GEMA. and the following warning about using VPN’s.
VPN’s are legal in Germany, but infringing on copyright and accessing content that should not be available can result in legal action.
Copyrights are governed by GEMA – “The Gesellschaft für musikalische Aufführungs- und mechanische Vervielfältigungsrechte (GEMA; English: Society for musical performing and mechanical reproduction rights) is a government-mandated collecting society and performance rights organization based in Germany.”
Basically this means if you want to watch a South African program but it has no license to air in Germany, and GEMA does not earn their fees, it would be considered illegal to watch it in Germany.
So although it is possible to watch DStv in Germany via a VPN, it is not recommended.
Downloading Movies, Music and other media
Watching movies via the Internet or downloading songs is often prohibited. Many online file-sharing services are illegal. German laws are strict about this.
Please inform yourself about what is allowed and what the penalties are for not adhering to the rules
Streaming is legal in Germany as long as the service provider follows the correct copyright rules.
Torrenting is illegal in Germany.
Here are som legal suggestions:
- Joyn – Joyn GmbH (previously 7TV Joint Venture GmbH) is a German joint venture of the media groups ProSiebenSat.1 Media and Discovery, which deals with streaming media products. Among other things, it operates the Joyn streaming platform of the same name, the Maxdome Store pay-per-view service and the Eurosport Player sports streaming service.
- Amazon Prime
- Magenta TV
- Showmax – South African content
Your first days in Germany can be very overwhelming and confusing. The forms you must fill in and the administrative tasks you must do will
Most South African radio stations have a streaming option, another option is to download apps with a selection of radio stations. Here are some suggestions
Your best option to legally watch South African products is to get a subscription to Showmax or Netflix. Showmax Kyknet and other SA programs Netflix