Slow progress in German cable dispute

zdf mainzThe negotiations between the German cable operators and pubcasters ARD and ZDF are moving forward at a snail’s pace, according to the parties involved.

“I am confident that we can agree with ARD and ZDF. But it can take a long time, “said Lutz Schüler, CEO of Unity Media, to the German Handelsblatt.

The talks seem to have reached deadlock and the stances have hardened. Both Unitymedia KabelBW and Kabel Deutschland (KDG) have started court proceedings against the broadcasters.

Last year ARD and ZDF terminated the carriage contracts for the distribution of their channels by KDG and Unitymedia KabelBW. They no longer want to pay the cablers a fee for distribution, saving the public broadcasters around EUR60 a year.

Meanwhile, Kabel Deutschland has ended carriage of those public channels that do not fall under the ‘must carry’ rules. This includes the regional ‘third network’ channels.

A move criticised by ARD chairman and NDR director Lutz Marmor, who called the cabler’s reaction “both unnecessary and incomprehensible”.