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ARD looks to SD switch off on Astra in 2020

With German public broadcaster ARD having renewed its contract with satellite operator SES for SD distribution only until mid-2020, SD switch-off on Astra (19.2° East) comes that much closer to reality. The extension of the partnership with ARD was announced by SES subsidiary Astra Deutschland in Munich.

“It’s been eight years ago that we jointly launched HD with the public broadcasters, but SD remains the standard in most households. We are pleased that ARD also upholds SD distribution,” said Christoph Mühleib, Managing Director of Astra Deutschland.

The agreement with ARD follows the contract renewal signed with fellow public broadcaster ZDF in May 2017 for the extension of SD carriage on Astra until 2020. KEF, the commission for the evaluation of the public licence fee for ARD and ZDF, aims for the public broadcasters to terminate the SD distribution of their channels on Astra in mid-2020.

The channels would continue broadcasting in HD only. The move, mainly associated with cost savings, was recently presented in KEF’s 21st report. KEF no longer recognises the financial needs for SD satellite broadcasting from the second half of 2020.