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RTL Interactive chief defends catch-up plan

RTL Interactive CEO Marc Schröder used ANGA Cable to mount a robust defence of the proposed Amazonas online catch-up joint venture between RTL and ProSiebenSat.1, which was rejected by the German Federal Cartel Office on the grounds that it would create a duopoly.

“We made it clear that it would have been open to all broadcasters and it would only be a technical platform,” Schröder said during a panel session on TV at the congress. “There would not have been central marketing or coordination.” He added that the two companies had not intended to set up hosting infrastructure on their own. “The objective was that we wanted to have one destination for the customer,” said Schröder. At a time when consumers could turn to the internet for content, broadcasters were still “in the stone age” with a range of different online portals, he said.

Schröder received support from Carl-Eugen Eberle, general counsel of public broadcaster ZDF, speaking on the same panel. Eberle said that the “Hulus and Googles…would be happy” if the project was not allowed, “because if they do not allow it in Germany, it will come from outside – I’m sorry the Cartel Office took that decision.”

Eberle said that the public broadcasters’ own plans for an online TV service were different in that it would be a pay service and would have no impact on the wider advertising market.