11.31 Europe/London, September 23, 2011 By Julian Clover

EuroSummit ’11. The possible verdict of the forthcoming European Court of Justice ruling, which could see the breakdown of rights sales by territory, brought rare disagreement to the CEO panel at CTAM Europe’s EuroSummit event.

Andrei Marc Torriani, CEO of Melita, which operates in host country Malta said the possibility of the deconstruction of current rights mechanism would open up a dilemma for operators. Torriani said that through OTT there was a chance for smaller operators to differentiate themselves.

Referring to his time with the telco O2, Torriani told delegates that the ECJ had a habit of simplifying problems. “Mobile telecommunications took a big hit over roaming. At one time operators had a strong case for territorialisation, but you can see that’s now gone. You may be in for a big surprise.”

The case centres on the Portsmouth publican Karen Murphy, who had purchased a subscription to the Eutelsat-delivered Nova platform, which targets the Greek market. The case was referred to the ECJ by the High Court in London following an action brought by the Premier League against a company called QC Leisure, which sells subscriptions of foreign pay-TV platforms to people in the UK.

Mike Moriarty, managing director, Chellomedia Central Europe, said any break-up would not just be about single properties such as the Spanish or the Premier League. “I would be amazed if it passed. It’s not as simple as people want it to be.”

Earlier, Moriarty had said the Liberty Global content division was well prepared against the possibility of double dip recession. “I operate across so many targeted markets and they’re all a little bit different. Poland has been largely resistant while Romania has been contracting. We see some positives, we’re scheduling differently, we’re buying differently,” he added that with operations running across seven different genres there were several different avenues that could be explored.

David Lynn is the executive vice president and managing director for MTV Networks UK & Ireland and Australia and New Zealand said that despite underlying growth in the channels business, the advertising market had stalled in the summer, and the economy was facing an uncertain future.