ARD and ZDF return to Hot Bird

German public broadcasters ARD and ZDF have resumed the transmission of their main TV channels on Eutelsat’s Hot Bird satellite system (13° East).

The broadcasts had to be interrupted during the FIFA Football World Cup 2014 due to rights restrictions. ARD and ZDF carried all 64 games live, but only held the domestic rights for Germany.

The German DTH satellite community is served by Astra (19.2° East) on which ARD and ZDF transmitted their whole World Cup coverage in standard resolution (SD) and high definition (HD) unencrypted.

Hot Bird’s footprint, however, is larger, covering territories not reached by Astra like the Middle East and Northern Africa where pay-TV broadcaster beIN Sports from the Al-Jazeera group has obtained the exclusive live broadcast rights from FIFA.

With the removal of their unencrypted World Cup coverage from Hot Bird, ARD and ZDF avoided a legal dispute with the rights holder in these territories. ARD screened a text caption informing viewers about the interruption while ZDF transmitted its sister channel ZDFneo on Hot Bird during the World Cup period.