Spain approves pay-DTT

Iñaki Ferreras

Spain will have its pay-DTT platform. Yesterday, Thursday 13 August, the country's government approved this way of watching digital television. The decision was pushed by the prime minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero and the Minister of Industry, Tourism and Commerce Miguel Sebastián despite the Council of State's recommendations, as Rapid TV News published on Wednesday.

The Council of State considers the approval “illegal” as it has been made without discussion in Parliament. The law is an order in council decreed directly by the government. The Council of State argues this decision goes against the current audiovisual legislation since it breaks the contracts of the present TV programs between producers and broadcasters.

Some audiovisual sector sources also critiziced the way the law has been passed, because according to them it is a result of lobbying by audiovisual media group Mediapro. In Spain’s politicised media sector, the company is near the government's ideology. Mediapro wants to commercialize its soccer pay-TV channel Gol TV on DTT.

The government’s decision also means some 18 million DTT boxes are already effectively obsolete as they are too old to convert for payment over DTT. Mediapro announced some two months ago it would have ready in the market some 400,000 pay-DTT boxes this summer before the next national soccer league begun. This is still to be seen now with the new law just approved.

Other sector actors such as Prisa's Sogecable or Mediaset's Telecinco are not opposed to pay-DTT but they'd rather it was regulated next year when the market is readier for it.