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Vodafone Deutschland and Arte bury hatchet and strike long-term deal

Vodafone Deutschland and cultural channel Arte have formally ended their long-running dispute over carriage terms by striking a long-term distribution agreement that will also see Arte content made available on-demand via cable.

The agreement between the pair will see advanced TV features such as instant restart of programmes made available to Vodafone subscribers.

The Arte media catalogue will also be made available to Vodafone GigaTV subscribers some time in the near future.

Vodafone, its predecessor Kabel Deutschland – and former Liberty Global unit Unitymedia, which is now part of Vodafone’s German operation – have been in dispute with Arte for seven years over whether the channel needed to pay for carriage via cable.

The cable operators were also in dispute with German public broadcasters ARD and ZDF over the same issue, with the pubcasters eventually agreeing to resume payments in 2018 in an out-of-court settlement.

Following a legal resolution in February, Vodafone and Arte, which had been holding out, have now resolved their differences. No financial details were revealed.

Vodafone said that extension of its agreement with Arte to cover Unitymedia Horizon set-top boxes was under review.
“The agreement reached is good news for our customers. Theatres and concert halls are closed, and cultural and musical consumption takes place primarily on the Internet. Arte’s media library offers a diverse selection of exciting programmes, high-quality features and concerts that are worth listening to. With this long-term partnership, we will soon be able to offer our customers the cultural offerings of the Arte media library. Together we will focus on offering viewers a great viewing experience with a varied TV offering that is available anytime, anywhere,” said Andreas Laukenmann, managing director for residential customers at Vodafone Deutschland.

“In these unusual times, Arte is doing its best to bring the world into the living room, to offer profound experiences and intelligent entertainment. We are also pleased that this contract will expand the universe of our viewers and that not only our high-quality television programmes, but also the broad range of digital services on offer will now be accessible to numerous cable households,” said Markus Nievelstein, managing director of Arte Deutschland.