DLA Piper secures success for Sat.1 in the allocation of broadcasting time to third parties

DLA Piper has secured success for the organizer of the private television broadcaster Sat.1 SatellitenFernsehen GmbH (Sat.1), in the dispute concerning the provision of broadcasting time to third parties. With its decision dated 14 July 2017, the Administrative Court of Neustadt upheld an application for urgent relief against a licensing decision declared as enforceable with immediate effect by the state media authority of Rhineland-Palatinate, the Landeszentrale für Medien und Kommunikation (LMK).

With the application for provisional legal protection, Sat. 1 had opposed what is termed a notice to allocate broadcasting time to third parties by the LMK dating from February 2017, which the LMK had used among other purposes to issue licences for the organization and dissemination of cross-regional TV programme windows to three production companies. As a result, Sat. 1 was obliged for a duration of five years as of 1 March 2017 to allocate and finance broadcasting space for these third-party providers within its schedule (so-called third-party broadcasting time). The licence of Sat. 1 to organize and disseminate its full television schedule was correspondingly restricted in favour of the third-party providers for the periods in which programmes were transmitted. Sat. 1 filed a complaint against this decision and at the same time submitted an application for urgent relief due to the immediate enforcement order.

With its ruling of 14 July 2017, the Administrative Court of Neustadt has reinstated the postponing effect of the complaint raised against this decision in relation to the licensing of the third-party providers and the restricting effect on the licensing of Sat. 1. In its ruling, the court stated that the LMK resolution had proven to be unlawful on summary review. The licences to the third-party providers should not have been issued and the licence of Sat. 1 should not have been correspondingly restricted because the procedure had not been conducted in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Agreement between the Federal States on Broadcasting (RstV).

The DLA Piper team comprised partner Dr Michael Stulz-Herrnstadt, senior associate Christoph Engelmann and associate Fabian Jeschke (all Litigation & Regulatory, Hamburg).