The Federal German Cartel Office Bundeskartellamt has given the green light to the plans by transmitter network operator Media Broadcast to set up a subscription-based DTT platform for commercial TV channels as part of the transition from broadcast standard DVB-T to successor DVB-T2, arguing that it would not limit competition.

“The business relationship between such a platform operator and the broadcast groups has to be created in compliance with the cartel law. In separate negotiations with the commercial broadcasters, Media Broadcast has worked out individual contracts for the fee-based provision of the channels. In this respect, there has been no act limiting competition,” Andreas Mundt, president of the Cartel Office, said in Bonn.

Media BroadcastThe DVB-T2 platform for which Media Broadcast has been selected as the operator by the media authorities will contain HD channels from the two major commercial broadcast groups RTL and ProSiebenSat.1 as well as further commercial channels in SD and HD quality. The encrypted channels will be offered to consumers for a subscription fee. The public broadcasters’ channels will, however, continue to be provided unencrypted and free of charge.

While the two large commercial TV groups agreed with the Cartel Office at the end of 2012 to transmit their channels on cable, satellite and IPTV for 10 years in SD and HD resolution in parallel, such a solution can’t be considered for DVB-T2 due to the shortage of frequencies, argues the competition authority.

The creation of a fee-based platform has been an autonomous corporate decision by Media Broadcast, according to the Cartel Office. The authority explains that, according to its conclusions, the participating broadcasters have autonomously and independently from each other determined whether they will provide their channels to Media Broadcast for distribution on the platform and individually set the conditions.