MTV Networks has expressed astonishment over criticism

MTV Networks has expressed astonishment over criticism of HD+, SES Astra’s German HDTV platform for which the satellite operator will charge viewers a reception fee.

I don’t understand the current commotion about the HD+ launch, Stefan Liebig, director of network development & content distribution at MTV Networks Germany, told German magazine Digital Fernsehen.

The suggestion that this is a furtive attempt to introduce pay-TV is especially far fetched. End consumers have always been paying a fee for platform services on cable networks and no one has ever suggested that this be labelled as pay-TV.
Liebig showed understanding for the plans of commercial TV groups RTL and ProSiebenSat.1 to distribute the HDTV variations of their free-to-air channels via HD+.
A platform that takes over packaging, encryption, decryption and customer management is the basic prerequisite for commercial broadcasters to enable an economically viable operation of an HD offer for DTH satellite reception,” said Liebig, who believes that service provider HD+ will be able to ensure exactly these services.

With regards to the fee charged for HD+ reception, Liebig said that public broadcasters are able to finance the additional costs involved in HDTV through the licence fee while pay-TV operators use subscription fees. “Commercial broadcasters, however, are forced to use different methods to recover these costs.
Liebig indicated that there could soon be more HDTV channels from MTV Networks in Europe. “In addition to the existing MTVN HD, we’re considering the launch of further HD offers.” The company is not only looking into creating new HD channels, but also the possibility of simulcasting existing free-to-air channels in high definition.

MTV Networks has operated its own HDTV channel, MTVN HD, in Europe since September 2008. In Germany, the service is currently only available on Deutsche Telekom’s IPTV platform T-Home Entertain. Industry insiders suggest that the channel could in future also be distributed on Eutelsat’s KabelKiosk as well as HD+, which after Liebig’s positive words would come as no surprise.