SES Astra has announced it has signed contracts with RTL Television and MTV Networks for the use of its new digital infrastructure. The controversial new service allows broadcasters to expand their digital line-ups and provide pay-per-view and near-video-on-demand channels. There will also be an enhanced electronic programme guide, room for personal video recorders, and a move towards more interactive TV.
Subscribers will have to pay a monthly €3.50 to access the channels. It seems likely that many of the basic channels on the Astra satellites at 19 degrees East will encrypt their signal. MTV Networks includes MTV, Viva, Nickelodeon and from next year Comedy Central. RTL’s German channels include RTL, VOX, RTL II, Super RTL, n-tv, RTL Shop and Traumpartner TV. The contracts are being examined by the German Federal Cartel Office (Bundeskartellamt).