Following a prolonged period of uncertainty, Tele2-owned Swedish cable operator Com Hem and the country’s major commercial broadcaster, Telia-owned TV4 Group, have agreed a framework deal will see TV4 channels continue to be aired on the Com Hem network.
Following the agreement, Com Hem customers and those of sister-digital-terrestrial network Boxer will continue to have access to TV4 Group channels TV4, Sjuan and TV12 as well as pay TV offering C More.
Details of the deal still need to e worked out in full, but in principle, the agreement will mean that Com Hem and Boxer’s 2.1 million customers will continue to be able to view TV4’s channels.
“I am very happy that we have now agreed on the framework for a long-term agreement that benefits both parties. The negotiations are taking longer than we expected and therefore it is good that we have established a framework that means that we can negotiate clearly while TV viewers can continue to watch the channels,” said Samuel Skott, commercial manager at Com Hem.
The pair have been at loggerheads over carriage terms but there are also deeper underlying factors underpinning their mutual distrust.
Com Hem and TV4 struck a temporary agreement last year for carriage after a period of open hostility tbetween them over streaming rights.
TV4 chief executive Casten Almqvist said at the time that the Tele2-owned operator was using its market position to leapfrog other potential bidders for OTT TV rights by insisting that these be bundled in with the carriage renewal.
Under the conditions imposed on Telia by the EC as part of its approval of the telco’s acquisition of TV4 owner Bonnier Broadcasting, TV4 was obliged to license streaming rights to at least one third-party distributor in each of Sweden and Finland.
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