German cable operators hope for agreement

Jörn Krieger ©RapidTVNews | 25-06-2012

Germany's three largest cable operators hope to find an agreement with public broadcasters ARD and ZDF regarding the continuation of cable carriage by the end of the year, following the cancellation of the existing carriage contracts by the broadcasters.

"Our goal remains the continuation of the good contractual relationship beyond 2012," Marco Gassen, spokesman for Kabel Deutschland, told Rapid TV News. "We are open for discussions and want to negotiate new contracts."

Gassen didn't want to comment on the possible removal of ARD/ZDF channels which don't enjoy "must carry" status if no agreement is reached: "Please understand that we don't want to discuss scenarios in public."

At the same time, Gassen pointed to the fact that all TV broadcasters currently pay carriage fees for distribution on Kabel Deutschland's network, including the public broadcasters: "Capacity on the networks costs money and has to be paid for."

It was "incomprehensible" for Kabel Deutschland that ARD and ZDF are not willing to pay for cable carriage in future, but continue to make payments for distribution on the infrastructures satellite and DTT, criticised Gassen.
"Besides broadcasters' carriage fees, cable operators finance through the payments made by cable customers for their cable subscription," explained Gassen. This mixed financing would be a model successfully in place for many years and enable German cable operators to keep consumers' cable subscription fees low: "German cable subscriptions are among the cheapest internationally."