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ARD and ZDF reject encryption on satellite

German public broadcasters ARD and ZDF have stressed that they will continue to transmit their TV channels unencrypted via satellite despite pressure from rights holders.

The demands to encrypt the satellite signals were inacceptable as a freely accessible, unencrypted transmission and distribution were part of the public service duty and correspond with the European policy of free flow of information, according to a joint statement.

Broadband TV News reports the background is the dispute regarding the TV rights of the World Men’s Handball Championship 2015. ARD and ZDF were unable to acquire the live coverage rights as the games would have been freely receivable in foreign countries due to their unencrypted satellite transmissions on Astra (19.2° East) and Hot Bird (13° East).

Despite rights holder beIN Sports having agreed to an unencrypted satellite transmission in August 2014 ahead of the submission of an offer for the rights, exactly this form of distribution has suddenly been used by the rights holder as the decisive argument for the rejection of ARD/ZDF’s offer in December 2014, according to the broadcasters.

Pay-TV operator Sky Deutschland subsequently acquired the rights. ARD and ZDF will report about the Handball World Cup 2015 in their news and sports programs.