German Cartel Office Fines TV Giants RTL, ProSieben $73 Million
The agency said the companies broke competition rules in by agreeing to encrypt their standard definition free TV signals and charge consumers a fee.
The German cartel office said Friday it has decided to slap a $73 million (55 million euros) fine on commercial TV giants ProSiebenSat.1 and RTL Group for anti-competitive behavior.
The government agency said the companies broke competition rules in 2005/2006 by agreeing to encrypt their standard definition free TV signals and charge customers a fee for them.
The cartel office said two unidentified "responsible persons" were also part of the fines.
"The two broadcasting groups agreed in the years 2005/2006 to broadcast their digital free TV programs in standard definition quality encrypted and demanded additional fees," said German cartel office president Andreas Mundt.
The companies agreed to the fine to settle the case. They promised to broadcast their free TV programs in standard quality without encryptions for at least 10 years.
Dow Jones reported that RTL, part of German media powerhouse Bertelsmann, and ProSieben have already taken financial provisions for the fines.