Advanced Television

No votes wins Digital Plus approval

November 11, 2010

From David Del Valle in Madrid

Mediaset’s Tele 5 and Telefonica have been cleared to take a 22 per cent stake each in the digital DTH platform Digital Plus but with limited voting rights in the management of the company. Media group Prisa will retain a 56 per cent stake.

Spain’s competition watchdog the CNC has shelved the legal proceedings, giving the green light to the deal, following both Tele 5 and Telefonica giving up their rights to veto strategic decisions, business plans or the annual budget of the platform. They will not have any rights in the appointment of top executives.

The new pay TV company, including Digital Plus and Telefonica’s IPTV service Imagenio, will have more than 2.5 million subscribers, an estimated market share of 63 per cent against ONO’s 24 per cent and with a ratio of 80 per cent against ONO’s 12 per cent in terms of revenues.

The watchdog’s decision comes soon after it had approved the merger between Telecinco and Cuatro, also with several conditions. One of them will ban Tele 5 from selling advertising from the partners’ two main channels (Tele 5 and Cuatro) in one package that makes up more than 22 per cent of audience share.

CNC also imposed limits on the duration of exclusive content from Tele 5: no more than 3 years of exclusivity on films and TV series and 5 years the period of FTA exploitation of a TV film.

Telecinco also agreed to break agreements to manage advertising for third parties operating free digital channels. As for DTT, Tele 5 will not be able to launch more DTT channels by renting DTT licences to third parties. The channel also agreed no to block any DTT improvement in its rivals Net TV and La Sexta with which it shares a multiplex until 2015.

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