Danish Broadcasting Corporation (DR)

Danish Broadcasting Corporation (DR) is a public service radio and television broadcaster. Founded in 1925, it is Denmark’s oldest and largest broadcast media enterprise. Today, DR operates six television channels and eight radio channels.

Media assets

Television: DR1, DR2, DR3, DR K, DR Ramasjang, DR Ultra

Radio: DR P1, DR P2, DR P3, DR P4, DR P5, DR P6 Beat, DR P7, DR P8 Jazz – Jazz, DR Langbølge

State Media Matrix Typology: Independent State-Funded and State-Managed (ISFM)

Ownership and governance

DR is an independent public institution. The highest governing body at DR is a board of directors comprising 11 members who are appointed for a four-year period. Seven of the board’s members are appointed by state authorities (three by the Minister of Culture, and six by Parliament). The DR staff elect two members to the board.

The board is in charge of hiring the management of DR, including the station’s CEO.

Source of funding and budget

Historically DR has been almost entirely funded by license fee (known as media license), which had to be paid by all households that own devices able to distribute audiovisual content in Denmark. Yet, since 2019, the license fee has been gradually phased out and the revenue generated by it was replaced by a state subsidy. By 2024, DR will not access any revenue from license fees.

The amount of the fee was set from time to time, for a given number of years, by the Minister of Culture. In 2021, the fee was DKK 619 (US$ 102.18) a year, down from DKK 2,500 (US$ 410) a year, as it used to be. The revenue from the fee was collected by DR and then distributed by the broadcaster, in line with the minister’s instructions, part of it to DR itself and other parts to the TV2 regional broadcast network.

In 2021, DR had an annual budget of DKK 3.8bn (US$ 575.3m), according to the station’s latest annual report. The license fee revenue only accounted for only around 22% of the total budget. The bulk of DR’s budget was accounted for by the state subsidy.  DR also generates some revenues from commercial activities, but they account for a very small ratio in the broadcaster’s total budget. In 2022, DR had a total budget of DKK 3.49bn (US$ 531.2m), almost entirely coming from the state budget.

Editorial independence

In Denmark, any form of censorship has been firmly prohibited by the Constitution since 1849. There are no rules imposed by the government on DR’s editorial coverage. DR has been admired for decades for its objective news coverage as well as the quality of its programming.

The Broadcast Law in Denmark ensures the editorial independence of the DR, stating that freedom of information and of expression should be a primary concern in the broadcaster’s program production.

DR has a so-called Listeners’ and Viewers’ Editor whose mission is to assess whether the DR’s content lives up to its standards. The editor (which resembles the function of an Ombudsman) handles complaints from users and interacts with the station’s management.

August 2023