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Parliamentary questions
21 October 2005
Answer given by Mr McCreevy on behalf of the Commission

According to the information at the Commission’s disposal, SES ASTRA is a satellite operator which provides to its customers and audiences a wide range of services such as for example broadcast services or broadband satellite communication services all over Europe. Their footprints provide extensive coverage across Europe with easy reception on small-sized dishes.

The Commission is aware of the difficulties met by some citizens who would like access to programmes broadcast from other Member States via satellite, whether or not the programmes are free to air.

On the basis of the analysis carried out by the Commission, it appears that, despite the fact that broadcasters are able via a satellite to offer their programmes to several or all Member States, national media policies, business models and contract arrangements often result in offers based on a given territory.

There is no legal impediment to broadcasters acquiring, for instance, the relevant ‘sport rights’ or intellectual property rights for their broadcasts on a pan-European basis but often they do not consider it to be economically viable to do so for more than one Member State’s territory. The provision of a cross-border TV broadcast by a private broadcaster will depend on the size of the audience which has to be big enough to ensure the economic viability of the service. Moreover, broadcasters are not always in a position to buy rights relating to a programme for more than one Member State because protected content owners are unwilling to sell them.

Cross-border broadcast depends therefore on private parties’ willingness to make it a reality.

OJ C 327, 30/12/2006
Last updated: 25 May 2006Legal notice