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Unitymedia to shut down satellite unit

Liberty Global-owned German cable operator Unitymedia has decided to close down its DTH satellite platform ArenaSAT. The service will cease transmission on September 30.

All ArenaSAT customers will be notified in writing over the next few days of the decision. Viewers with ArenaSAT equipment will be able to continue to use their receivers to view free TV broadcasts available via the Astra satellite platform.

Unitymedia launched the DTH platform to extend its reach following its surprise acquisition of Bundesliga football rights in 2005. The company’s failure to win sufficient subscribers to meet the terms of the rights agreement led to it striking a deal with DTH market leader Premiere (now Sky Deutschland), which was then vetoed by the regulatory authorities. Arena subsequently sub-licensed its Bundesliga rights to Premiere under a different agreement, and the ArenaSAT subscriber base declined sharply.

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