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[13.06.2006] D.Telekom likely need TV license for soccer.

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12.06.2006

Germany's media regulator said on Monday that Deutsche Telekom would probably need a television license to show German premier league soccer matches via the Internet together with pay-TV firm Premiere.

Deutsche Telekom holds the Internet TV rights to Bundesliga soccer matches and has set up a partnership to show the games with Premiere, which lost its TV rights to rival Arena, causing its shares to lost 60 percent of their value.

'At a first glance, we see this as broadcasting, and for that Deutsche Telekom will need a license,' said a spokesman for the German media regulator.

He said the regulator had not yet seen Deutsche Telekom's Internet TV plans but added that broadcasting without a license would be piracy under German media laws.

Deutsche Telekom is rolling out a new super-fast broadband Internet network and plans to offer its customers high-definition television and video-on-demand using Internet protocol (IP) technology.

It will also offer live coverage of the German Bundesliga soccer matches together with Premiere, which has a TV license and will produce the games.

Deutsche Telekom reiterated that it does not believe it needs a license because it is providing merely the infrastructure for broadcasters and not producing any of its own broadcasts.

'We assume that we as Telekom will not need a license, because the editorial responsibility will be with Premiere,' a Deutsche Telekom spokesman said.

He added that the telecoms group had waited to present its Internet TV plans to the German media regulator until there was clarity about the use of the Bundesliga rights, which were in dispute until last week.

In a separate move, a German regional media regulator dismissed Premiere's challenge of its decision to award a TV license to Arena, which is owned by Unity Media.

Source: http://www.rdi-sat.com

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