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.