ProSiebenSat.1 to remain on DTT in Germany | DTT | News | Rapid TV News
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German commercial TV group ProSiebenSat.1 is to continue to transmit its channels on digital terrestrial frequencies in Germany.

Conrad Albert, executive for legal, distribution & regulatory affairs, told German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung that the board of directors has decided to extend the contract with transmitter network operator Media Broadcast for three years.

Sat.1, ProSieben, kabel eins and sixx will therefore remain on DTT until 2018. It has not only been a question of the costs involved, explained Albert. "It's correct that DTT is more expensive than satellite or cable as a transmission infrastructure, but costs are not the only criterion. We want to keep all reception options open for our viewers and don't want to close down the distribution method in the foreseeable future on which the consumption of our programmes is above average, therefore being economically viable for us."

Germany's other large commercial TV group RTL announced in January 2013 that it would withdraw its channels from DTT by the end of 2014 for reasons of cost, sparking fears in the industry that ProSiebenSat.1 could follow suit, calling the future of digital terrestrial television in Germany into question. According to the media authorities' latest digitalisation report, around five million households in Germany use DTT, 3.7 million of which do so on their main TV set, usually the big screen in the living room.

ProSiebenSat.1 hopes that it can use the capacity vacated by RTL for its own channels to boost their technical reach. "The announced retreat by our competitors offers us the opportunity to increase the reach of our small channels and will put our existing channel line-up more into the focus among DTT users," said Albert. "Knowing our viewership figures, we are very relaxed about RTL's decision." Possible candidates for the DTT capacities could be Sat.1 Gold and ProSieben Maxx (launching in Q4 2013) as well as the children's channel and luxury channel planned by ProSiebenSat.1.

In return, Albert demands planning security from German media politicians. "The broadcast industry has financed digital terrestrial television and contributed to its deployment. We therefore want a clear commitment from media politicians to the further development of DTT, enabling this transmission method to stay economically viable," said Albert. "Also, the frequencies have to remain allocated to broadcast usage and must not be handed over to mobile network operators."