Vodafone Deutschland and ARTE have settled their legal dispute about carriage fees on the German cable network and agreed on a long-term partnership.
With the move, the cable operator, which reaches around 25 million TV households in Germany, and the European cultural channel want to make the distribution and consumption of content on Vodafone’s cable TV platforms more convenient and attractive, according to a Vodafone statement. A Vodafone spokesperson did not want to elaborate on contract details, though, when approached by Broadband TV News.
In a first step, the integration of digital add-on functions such as instant restart is planned. In addition, Vodafone TV customers will soon have direct access to the ARTE catch-up service on the GigaTV platform. The integration on the Horizon platform in the former Unitymedia footprint is currently under review.
“The agreement is good news for our customers. Theatres and concert halls are closed, and cultural and music enjoyment is primarily on the net,” said Andreas Laukenmann, managing director, private customers at Vodafone Deutschland. “ARTE offers a diverse selection of exciting programmes, high-quality features and attractive concerts on its catch-up service.”
“With this long-term partnership, we will soon be able to provide our customers with the cultural offerings from ARTE’s catch-up service,” added Laukenmann. “We jointly focus on providing viewers with a great television experience with a broad TV offering that can be accessed anytime and anywhere.”
Markus Nievelstein, managing director of ARTE Deutschland, said: “In these extraordinary times, ARTE is doing its best to bring the world into the living room, to provide profound orientation and intelligent entertainment. We are pleased that this contract expands our scope of viewers and that not only our high-quality television programmes, but also the channel’s various digital offerings will now become accessible to numerous cable households.”
Since the beginning of 2013, ARTE and Vodafone (as well as Unitymedia in federal states North Rhine-Westphalia, Hesse and Baden-Württemberg) have had different views on the conditions of the channel’s cable distribution. The question of whether this distribution requires a contractual basis and, in particular, the payment of carriage fees by the broadcaster, has been the subject of several court cases.
These legal disputes will now be brought to an end following a decision by the Federal German Court of Justice in February 2020 and as a result of the cooperation agreement that has now been concluded.
In 2018, Vodafone and Unitymedia already agreed on out-of-court settlements with German public broadcasters ARD and ZDF. Most recently, public radio broadcaster Deutschlandradio and Vodafone agreed on a settlement at the end of 2019.
According to Vodafone, there are currently no further appeals regarding the distribution conditions on its German cable network.