Bulgarian bTV explains carriage dispute

January 10, 2013 01.08 Europe/London By Chris Dziadul

The leading Bulgarian broadcaster bTV Media Group has provided Broadband TV News with a detailed explanation as to the causes of its carriage dispute with Bulsatcom.

In it, the company says that the public discussion on the negotiations between the two parties and related pending regulatory and business matters have raised several important issues.

The first, the underestimation of programming content, cites a survey conducted by the research agency Be Media Consult and ABBRO that confirms some platform under-report their subscriber numbers.

Such an action is particularly harmful when the biggest market player Bulsatcom misleads TV broadcasters, and in particular CME-backed bTV Media Group, as it deprives the media of “vital resources for the production and acquisition of programming content.”

It adds that fair remuneration is vital for the survival of smaller channels such as bTV Action, bTV Cinema, bTV Comedy, bTV Lady and RING.BG, where distribution revenue is of major importance.

The second issue is that of price discrimination, with bTV alleging that Bulsatcom retains over 80% of income from monthly taxes of its subscribers and invests only 20% in TV production, and the third negligence of subscribers’ choice.

BTV Media Group also says that Bulsatcom owes it a large amount of money going back several months, which is one of the main reasons its channels were dropped from the latter’s network in December.