UK broadcasters ITV and Channel 4 have been told they shouldn’t expect to receive retransmission fees from platforms carrying their services.
It follows the publication of the so-called “balance of payments review” which studied the balance between television platforms and public service broadcasters.
The Digital Economy Bill was put before the House of Commons on Tuesday, closing a clause in Section 73 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, which prevented the collection of retrans fees.
In the process the Government has made it clear that there are “zero net fees”. Government thinking is that the broadcasters are already adequately compensated enough for their carriage. For example the public service broadcasters, also including the BBC and Channel 5, receive prominent placing in the top five positions of the EPG.
ITV has been campaigning for two years for the right to charge retrans fees for its carriage – were it successful it would be sending a bill to one of its own shareholders – Liberty Global, the owner of Virgin Media.
Brigitte Trafford, Virgin Media Chief Corporate Affairs Officer, said: “Virgin Media welcomes the Government’s decision to reject a two year lobbying campaign by ITV and Channel 4 to charge viewers extra fees for watching programmes on cable and satellite that they’ve already paid for.”
ITV believes it could nets as much as £121 million were it allowed to levy such a fee. Channel 4 puts its own figure at £75 million.