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RTL and ProSieben join forces for catch-up service

The two largest commercial broadcasters in Germany are joining forces to launch an online catch-up service. RTL and ProSiebenSat.1 have confirmed plans to launch a joint service, which allow consumers in Germany and Austria to access their TV shows online, free of charge.

The partners said that they want to launch an open platform that would be open to commercial and public broadcast channels in the two countries. Like the BBC iPlayer in the UK, viewers would be able to stream content that had been broadcast on the channels after the initial transmission.

A joint venture between P7S1 and RTL would provide the relevant technical services and expertise, but each channel would be responsible for the marketing of its content on the service.

Before any service can launch the proposals need rubber stamping by European Union competition authorities.

“For the first time, the new platform will give Internet users the ability to retrieve time-shifted TV content via a central and clearly organised Internet platform tailored to the German and Austrian markets,” P7S1 said in a statement. “The platform will strengthen competition in the German and Austrian market and is intended to help to put participating TV channels in a strong position to compete with international Internet offerings.”

German public broadcasters ARD and ZDF have, separately, already developed an online video service, which is marketed under the Mediathek banner.