United Group: RTS fees too high, offer unacceptable

NEWS 22.05.2018 12:27
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Source: N1

The United Group said on Tuesday that it had to reject a new Serbia’s state TV RTS offer for distributing its channel from December 2017 which was ten times higher than the previous one.

The Group said it could not accept it since the new fee was not in accordance with the practice and other European public services’ prices.

“We confirm that the United Group got the RTS offer in December 2017 which was ten times higher than the price we have been paying so far. We have been totally taken by surprise because the RTS asks for 100 times higher fee than the BBC and on average 27 times more than the others charge for the broadcast of their programmes abroad,” the Group said.

It added that the practice in Europe is that the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) provides the broadest distribution of those channels because it has a deal with all operators.

The United Group cooperates with the EBU in the distribution of the other national broadcasters, while the RTS left the Union this year to start distributing and charging on its own.

“It is not clear why the RTS has left the EBU which has providedpractice with the widest possible distribution and secured payments and why, to our knowledge, it plans to grant the distribution rights exclusively to a private company,” the Group said.

The United Group added that the RTS claim that the Group unauthorised redistributed its programmes in Slovenia was not true since there is a document regulating the redistribution of the RTS channels in that country.

“We want to pay for the RTS channels and we think that the RTS should charge for its broadcast abroad, but in accordance with the practise and fees of the other European public services, as well as with a possibility of watching their channels on all platforms free of charge.”

However, the Group added, the RTS demanded a fee for broadcasting its channel on the EON and for the programme backward function, which contradicted the world practice.

“The fact is that we don’t pay to any channel any additional fee. The mentioned ways of watching television are a standard part of the contracts. The television has advanced, and a new way of watching it involves the internet, multi-devices and a possibility of backward the content,” the United Group said.

It added that the RTS had enabled the viewers to watch its contents on different devices on the internet via its “RTS Planet”, which the Group supported.

“We are glad to hear it’s will be for free, since we were told that after the promotional period it will cost five Euros a month, which, the RTS told us, should be the fee for the equivalent package on our platforms,” the Group said.

“We think that the RTS has a quality programme, but at the same time, we don’t think it should charge a ridiculous fees. The offer price will certainly force a  majority of distributors outside Serbia to shut down the RTS signal or to switch it to the packages available to a much lesser number of viewers,” the Group said, adding that “all of that is, unfortunately, contrary to the main mission of a public service which is to spread the national culture, tradition, and interests to as wide as possible audience.”