Unitymedia Kabel BW to sue ARD and ZDF

Jörn Krieger | 20-12-2012

Germany's second-largest cable operator Unitymedia Kabel BW is to take Germany's public broadcasters to court.

"We will take legal action against ARD and ZDF to make it clear that the broadcasters are obliged to continue paying carriage fees," CEO Lutz Schüler told German financial newspaper Handelsblatt.

"For us it's clear: we will not give away our capacities for distribution of TV channels for free - neither to ARD and ZDF nor to commercial broadcasters," stressed Schüler. With its move, Unitymedia Kabel BW follows market leader Kabel Deutschland which has already initiated court cases against ARD and ZDF in the carriage fee row.

The dispute was instigated by the public broadcasters' decision to cancel the carriage contracts with the two large cable operators by the end of 2012. From 1 January 2013, the broadcasters no longer want to pay carriage fees.