Spain’s government has announced it had given the green light to pay TV on DTT.
“Citizens will be able to access higher quality contents so prompting the transition to DTT,” said the government in a press release.
But at the same time the government has assured concerned citizens that the implementation of payment on DTT “won’t mean the users won’t be able to view interesting sports events in-the-clear”. That refers to the law regulating the televising of popular sporting events that includes the obligation to broadcast live and in-the-clear one match per matchday from the Spanish Soccer League. Also included to be broadcast free-to-air are sporting events every year defined as of ‘generalinterest’, similar to the UKs “Crown Jewels” of sporting events that must be available for free to the nation (like the Olympic Games).
If the government finally decides to allow pay-DTT, the move would allow Mediapro, owner of laSexta, to introduce payment for soccer matches from the Spanish league. Mediapro has been fighting with Sogecable, owner of Digital+, over the rights to the league. Mediapro has the main soccer rights for the next five seasons until 2014.
So Telecinco has asked that pay-DTT be put off for five years until Mediapro’s rights expire in order to be able to compete under the same conditions.
Viewers associations were also happy with the news since they believe it will be more dynamic for the DTT panorama. “We believe payment on DTT will push DTT implantation in Spain. At the same time it’s compatible with maintaining the in-the-clear transmissions of sporting events of general interest.� These associations also believe the news opens the door to digital interactive services.
According to reports LaSexta will ask permission to broadcast Mediapro’s Gol TV channel, a sports channel carrying Spanish soccer matches including Spain’s Soccer League and the King’s Soccer Cup. At present Gol TV is provisionally broadcast through different pay TV operators.
Gol TV is produced by Mediapro and would occupy the frequency now occupied by laSexta�s thematic DTT channel Hogar 10. However, Hogar 10 will return to DTT in-the-clear – as now – after national analogue switch
A large number of shared antenna users are expected to wait until the last minute to make a decision, presenting installers with a problem, making them rush or reach analogue switch off with the work not done. Full analogue switch off is set for April 3, 2010 but many areas, including areas in Valencia wil be see their analogue sytstems swicthed off in under 80 days. According to statistics 55% of spanish homes have the require TDT aerial installation.
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