,Antena 3 chief executive Silvio Gonzlez (pictured, left) has criticised the Spanish governments delay in deciding whether or not to legalise a pay-TV service on the countrys digital-terrestrial platform.

Spain's manufacturing, telecommunications and audiovisual industries are waiting for an official clarification over any possible future pay-TV model on DTT. But the national government states now that a decision on the issue is not urgent.

Francisco Ros, Telecommunications State Secretary, said the government was in no hurry over a possible change of the DTT laws which would allow broadcasters to launch a pay DTT package.

The delay on making a decision has caused some consternation. National private broadcaster Antena 3 said once more that DTT is a technical reality and that its implementation only depends on "political will".

Silvio Gonzlez, Antena 3s CEO added that a growth in the number of channels with the arrival of digital era would oblige the audiovisual sector to create a new financial model" relating to pay DTT.

Gonzlez added that future pay DTT would only survive on a premium content basis and at a "reasonable" price in order to offer an attractive offering to the viewer.

So the governments pay TV policy, and its seeming reluctance to come to a decision was a "mistake", Gonzlez said. He compared the panetration figures of pay-TV in Spain (24%) with those of other European countries such as France (50%) or the UK (46%). He added that the pay-TV content market in Spain is at a standstill, growing over the last seven years by only 300,000 new subscribers to 3.8 million according to latest figures from the Telecommunications Market Comission (CMT).

Producer Mediapro, which backs the laSexta national channel, is the first one interested in pay DTT since it will have soccer broadcasting rights from 2009 on. The company is working on the creation of a soccer pay TV channel. Another company with big expectations in this model is operator Dahlia TV whose business model consists of packaging contents coming from all broadcasters and offering them at a low monthly cost of 10 or else on a pre-paid basis with a pay-per-use card