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Spain: Court closes DTT shutdown file

Spain’s Supreme Court has closed the file on the possible shutdown of eight DTT channels, a few weeks after broadcasters reached a deal with broadcast services company Infraestructuras y Gestión 2002 to withdraw the case. The private TV stations agreed to pay around €20 million to the company to prevent the closures.

Now with the Supreme Court’s decision to close the file, the TV channels will be able to maintain their signals and avoid higher losses. The channels’ closure would have had a very negative impact on Mediaset and Atresmedia, The former would have lost four: Boing, FDF, Energy and Divinity; Atresmedia, Neox and Nova with an estimated loss of up to €12 million; and Vocento (Paramount) and Unidad Editorial (13 TV), one each.

Infraestructuras y Gestión 2002 had made an appeal on the grounds that 17 DTT licences were granted unlawfully without a public tender. In May 2014, nine DTT channels were shut down following the Supreme Court’s ruling and the additional eight were similarly destined for closure.

The news comes at a time when the government is set to award six new DTT licences (three SD and three HD) in October 2015 with nine bidders fighting for them: Atresmedia, Mediaset, Prisa, 13 TV, Grupo Secuoya, Net TV, Real Madrid, Radio Blanca and the shopping chain El Corte Ingles.

Currently, Spaniards can watch 15 nationwide DTT channels: six operated by Mediaset (Telecinco, Cuatro, FDF, Divinity, Boing and Energy), five by Atresmedia (Antena 3 TV, La Sexta, Neox, Nova and Gol TV), two from Veo TV rented to Discovery Max and 13TV, two from Net TV rented to Disney Channel and Paramount Channel. With the new channels, the DTT offer available will be 21 DTT channels with a national coverage.

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