Spain to close DTT bids to foreign investors

The Spanish Government is reportedly set to change the TV law  to ban potential foreign investors in the awarding of 5 new DTT licences later on this year.

The interest of foreign TV groups is raising serious concern within the Government that “unsuitable” companies could take control of the FTA content in the DTT market. To avoid this, The Administration plans to make significant changes in the awarding of the channels such as introducing an administrative requirement for foreign companies to apply for the licences, that would delay the process and would make them fail to meet the deadline to submit their bids in the public tenders. Other alternatives are awarding entire multiplexes instead of single channels.
This year 5 new DTT licences for the launch of four HD and one SD channel will be awarded through a public tender or by auction in the first half of the year.

Three of the HD channels will be part of a new multiplex whereas the fourth will share frequency with RTVE’s La 1 HD and Teledeporte HD on the multiplex RGE2 – currently operated by RTVE which takes 66 per cent of its capacity. The SD channel will share its frequency with Energy, Boing and Gol TV.

In 2015, the Spain’s DTT map will drastically change, above all if the Supreme Court orders the close down of another 8 DTT channels for having been awarded illegally.

According to the Administration, Spain’s new DTT map will be composed of eight DTT multiplexes, of which three will be operated by public broadcasters (two by RTVE and one by regional broadcasters) and five by private TV stations.

Currently, following the closure of 9 DTT channels, Spaniards can watch 15 national DTT channels: Six operated by Mediaset (Telecinco, Cuatro, FDF, Divinity, Energy and Boing); Five by Atresmedia (Antena 3, La Sexta, Neox, Nova and Gol TV); Two from Veo TV rented to Discovery Max and 13 TV; Two from Net TV rented to Disney Channel and Paramount Channel. With the new channels, the DTT offer available will be 20 DTT channels with a national coverage and with new potential media groups breaking into the market.

Spain will have until March 31st to complete the DTT migration as a result of the digital dividend following the government has extended to three months the deadline from the initial’s December 31st.

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