KDG threatens to remove ARD and ZDF

November 12, 2012 21.32 Europe/London By Robert Briel

Kabel Deutschland CEO Adrian von Hammerstein is threatening to remove the public channels from the network when no compromise is reached before January.

“If we find no solution before the new year, we must reconsider our services for the public broadcasters,” said Von Hammerstein to Financial Times Deutschland.

Public broadcasters ARD and ZDF have said that they will no longer pay a carriage fee to the German broadcasters for distribution of their bouquets of channels.

Last June, ARD, ZDF and Arte cancelled their carriage contracts with the three major German cable operators, Kabel Deutschland, Kabel BW and Unitymedia.

The pubcasters are confident that they will keep cable carriage, as their channels are ‘must carry’ under German media law. However, the question is if the operators are indeed obliged to carry all 22 digital channels.

ARD and ZDF have a total of seven national channels as well as numerous regional broadcasters. At the moment, all of these are carried by most platforms as part of their (unencrypted) basic tier.

It is estimated that Kabel Deutschland receives a carriage fee of around €100 million annually.

The resistance among cable companies is great, especially since the broadcasters pay for digital terrestrial distribution and satellite DTH. There is also a fear that private broadcasters will try to cancel their carriage payments.