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RTL and ProSiebenSat.1 to Appeal Court Decision on ‘German Hulu’

Vincent Flood  10 August, 2012

ProSiebenSat1_RTLGerman broadcasters RTL and ProSiebenSat.1 say they plan to appeal a ruling made by a court in Dusseldorf that scuppered plans for a joint online video platform that would have created what has been dubbed as the ‘German Hulu’. The Higher Regional Court prevented the move in a ruling on Wednesday, saying it would be anti-competitive and further strengthen the two networks’ duopoly in the German market. The broadcasters hold rights to many of Germany’s top TV titles and according to the court they constitute approximately 90 percent of the German advertising market.

ProSiebenSat.1 and RTL have said they intend to review the court’s ruling before taking the appeal to a higher level, which will in all likelihood be the Federal Court of Justice, Germany’s Supreme Court. The networks wanted to launch the platform to provide catch-up services for series, films and TV shows seven days after initial broadcast and the move has been widely regarded as being a pre-emptive act of co-operation to prepare for the arrival of foreign-owned services like Nextflix, Lovefilm and Hulu.

Other smaller players in the German market have been making similar plans, such as the proposed joint venture between ARD and ZDF, dubbed ‘Germany’s Gold’, has yet to see a decision from the courts. In a statement research analyst firm IHS Screen Digest said:

The plan from ARD and ZDF is to create a VOD service based on pay-per-view, subscription and advertising business models that will offer German TV and movie content from 17 domestic partners as well as international players. The decision on the ARD/ZDF plans is to be announced later this summer but since the ‘Germany’s Gold’ participants have only a very small part of the advertising market, the prospects for ARD and ZDF look significantly less gloomy.

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