Broadcasters await Spanish court ruling on fate of DTT channels

Mariano Rajoy

Mariano Rajoy

Spain’s Supreme Court is set to rule on the fate of eight of the country’s digital-terrestrial channels on Tuesday, following allegations that channel licences were awarded illegally under the previous government. 

According to local press reports, all signs indicate that prime minister Mariano Rajoy will not intervene to save the channels. If the court rules that the eight services must close, following the closure last year of nine channels on the DTT platform, commercial broadcaster Mediaset would be left with two channels – Cuatro and Telecinco – and would see four channels – Energy, Divinity, Boing and FDF – close. Rival Atresmedia would lose Neox and Nova, and would be left with Antena 3, La Sexta and a channel set to replace Mediapro’s Gol TV.

The broadcasters had been hoping for an amendement to the country’s audiovisual law ahead of the court decision that could have allowed them to keep the channels open. Deputy prime minister Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría is believed to be receptive to their demands ahead of the general election scheduled for later this year. However, industry minister José Manuel Soria reportedly wants to leave the decision to the court amid fears that intervention could intervene if amendments to the law are passed.