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Investigative programming
RTL Deutschland scored large audience shares with the broadcast of Stern Investigativ and Team Wallraff on Thursday 4 April 2024.

Stern Investigativ, which provided a close look at right-wing groups and connections to the AfD (a right-wing political party in Germany), achieved an audience share of 11.9 per cent among 14- to 59-year-olds and 15.3 per cent among 14- to 49-year-olds. On the same evening, Team Wallraff – Reporter undercover, which investigated corruption in the cleaning industry, attracted a total of 1.66 million viewers, representing an audience share of 9 per cent in the 14-59 commercial target group 10.4 per cent in the 14-49 target group.

The investigative programming made RTL Deutschland the clear leader in both target groups on Thursday 4 April, with a daily audience share of 10.4 per cent in the 14-59 group and 11.3 per cent in the 14-49 group.

Source: AGF / GfK / DAP Videoscope / RTL Data (preliminary figures as of 05.04.2024)

Stern Investigativ
: Citizens of the Reich and the AfD

It is estimated that around 23,000 Reichsbürger (citizens of the Reich) – those who reject the German state and wish for the German Reich to return – live in Germany, either or alone or organised into groups. To what extent have these people been radicalised? What happens when these heavily armed citizens challenge state power? And how close are the links to politics? Using months of research and undercover reporters, Stern Investigativ: Inside Reichsbürger – Wie nah sind sie der AfD (Stern Investigative: Inside citizens of the Reich – How close are they to the AfD?) analysed the Reichsbürger movement in Germany.

Undercover reporters joined ‘Königreich Deutschland‘ (Kingdom of Germany) – a group that presents itself as being peaceful and cooperative, but has been under observation for many years – for a walk in the woods. Here, the reporters met Reich citizens who dream of a Germany without people from Africa or a Germany within the borders of 1937. The group has many generous donors that it uses to buy property – including three castles worth millions of euros.

At a separate seminar for beginners, the undercover reporters hear talks about the “depopulation” of Germany – a term used by right-wing extremists and parts of the AfD. The Stern Investigativ team also obtains secret investigation files from one of the biggest terror trials in the history of the Federal Republic of Germany: the coup planned by Heinrich XIII Prince Reuß and members of the Reichsbürger movement.

Launched in September 2023, Stern Investigativ is a cross-media format that aims to uncover abuses in business, politics and society.

Team Wallraff
: Corruption in the German cleaning industry

Time is money: The latest episode from investigative journalist Günter Wallraff and his team aims to discover whether this is true in the German cleaning industry. In Schmutz und Gier. Undercover in der Reinigungsbranche (Dirt and Greed. Undercover in the cleaning industry), the team uses informants and undercover reporters to uncover dubious business practices, safety concerns, minimum wage violations and intimidation attempts.

A total of four cleaning companies are investigated, with clients that include schools, universities, hospitals and other public organisations. Undercover reporter Alex starts working for Berlin company Capital Infradienst, where he has just four hours to clean an entire university: more than ten offices, 30 toilets, 10 large seminar rooms and all corridors. As Alex learns in his onboarding, this immense time pressure leads to poor hygiene, with many colleagues simply using water instead of proper cleaning materials. The university itself demands over eight hours of daily cleaning from the company, which in turn receives over €50,000 per year from the state. Capital Infradienst denied these allegations in a statement issued via a law firm.

Corrupt methods were detected in other cleaning companies. Many employees come from abroad – predominantly Ukraine, Romania, Russia and Afghanistan – and are attracted by the minimum wage of €13 per hour and the promise of accommodation. As undercover reporter Jana discovered on her first day with the cleaning company Astrein Exzellent, she would be paid per hotel room instead of her hour. To earn the minimum wage, she would need to clean three hotel room per hour – an almost impossible task. Jana also reported cases of intimidation in the form of WhatsApp messages. If a mistake is found during a room check, employees could have the room deducted from their wages, or even be threatened with punishment or dismissal. Astrein Exzellent also denied these allegations.

Günter Wallraff has been investigating cases on behalf of RTL Deutschland for over 10 years. Team Wallraff has won Best Documentary/Reportage in the German Television Awards in 2014 and 2022, and received widespread attention for its uncovering of unhygienic conditions in Burger King branches across Germany. To accompany the latest episode, Team Wallraff Spezial: Wie sauber sind unsere Schulen? (Team Wallraff Special: How clean are our schools?) is available to stream on RTL+, while a new episode of Team Wallraff - The Podcast will feature the undercover reporters Jana, Michelle and Alex and their experiences in the cleaning industry.


Oliver Fahlbusch

Executive Vice President Communications & Investor Relations, RTL Group

+352 / 24 86 5200

Irina Mettner-Isfort

Vice President Media & Investor Relations

+49 221 456 56410