Spain's pay DTT at a stand still

Iñaki Ferreras

Spain’s government still has not made a decision on whether to allow broadcasters to offer pay-DTT services, despite Mediapro's laSexta formally asking last week for a licence.

Some audiovisual market sources fear the government will only allocate one pay-DTT licence, to laSexta, repeating the same action that the socialist government years ago took when licensing Sogecable's Canal+ analogue pay-TV service - the only one pay-TV service at the time.

María Teresa Fernández de la Vega, the vice-president said the launch of pay-DTT will require a modification of the law through a Real Decree from the government or else through a regular law. She also added that the future Audiovisual General Law will include mobile TV and HDTV as well as pay-DTT, meaning pay-DTT could be legislated within the new law which the audiovisual sector has long been waiting for.

Meanwhile, Spain's main cable operator Ono has asked the government to be considered as an "interested party" in the pay-DTT process. That is so the company can present formal objections as it will not be able to get a licence because there is no capacity in the DTT spectrum. Ono also highlights it is important that the government assures there will be no monopoly in soccer rights exploitation - referring to Mediapro's intentions of exploiting its soccer rights through its wanted pay-DTT licence.

Private national broadcasters Grupo Planeta's Antena 3 and Mediaset's Telecinco have already declared their points of view by stating pay-DTT is
"necessary" although Telecinco doesn't want services to start for the next five years, the
period Mediapro has its soccer rights for.