German TV channels receive huge fines


Remind me never to upset the German cartel office that regulates fines for television companies.

It has hit commercial TV giants ProSiebenSat.1 and RTL Group with fines for $73 million (55 million euros) for anti-competitive behavior. Dang.

According to the office, which is part of the German government, the two companies broke rules in 2005 and 2006 when they decided to encrypt their standard definition free TV signals and then charge a fee for them. Two unidentified people who were "responsible" for the actions were also part of the fines.

"The two broadcasting groups agreed in the years 2005/2006 to broadcast their digital free TV programs in standard definition quality encrypted and demanded additional fees," said German cartel office president Andreas Mundt.

Both companies agreed to the fine as a way to settle the case, as well as provided promises that they will broadcast their free TV programs in standard definition without encryption for a minimum of 10 years.

RTL, which is part of German media organization Bertlesmann, and ProSieben have already made financial provisions to pay the fines.

I wonder why these two companies thought they would get away with this. I do not understand the German TV system, but it seems like they knew they were doing the wrong thing. 


Written by: Hamatosan
Dec 28th, 2012, 9:16 am


Message Posted On Dec 29th, 2012, 1:37 am
You know, beeing from Germany ... to me it is MUCH more surprising they did NOT get aways with this. German (civil) law is *very* corrupt in a certain way. As a (inc.) large business what you usually do when you have legal troubles is throw money at it until it goes away. Lawyer fees are a joke compared to what you'd have to pay for an attorney in the US so that money can be spent manipulating the law and exploiting loopholes. With that in mind it really is a big surprise that the "Bundeskartellamt" fined them and they agreed. I smell shady dealings behind the scenes .... :)