UPDATED: RCS&RDS says Discovery channels are too expensive and have low audience

Business, Media

(adds data from a RCS & RDS press release that explains the tariffs are the ones that determine the company to drop Discovery)

RCS&RDS informed Romanian press, via a press release, that it doesn’t intend to drop the documentary channels, but only to replace some of them, as Mediafax and Paginademedia.ro write.

“Our company cannot agree to continue broadcasting Discovery channels and pay tariffs 3 times higher than those of similar channels, for all its subscribers, as the medium audience of Discovery channels is 1%. We cannot accept the principle: 1% want it and 100% pay for it”, RCS&RDS press release mentions.

The company mentions that Discovery tariffs were always in US dollars and the subscriptions are in RON and, only for Romania, the amounts to pay to Discovery increased continuously  in spite  of the economical crisis or exchange rates. “The RON equivalent of the amounts in 2012 is two times higher than in 2008, which is an 100% increase in 4 years”, the press release mentions, adding that “arguments related to the economical crisis, decrease in consumers’ buying power or the impact of currency exchange rate were never accepted by Discovery”.

RCS&RDS mentions, in the same release, that Discovery refused its proposal to create a separate package to include all its channels and to be distributed with a tariff established by Discovery to the interested subscribers, with no unjustified costs for subscribers that don’t want it.

Couple days ago, RCS&RDS, Romanian cable and digital TV and internet provider with activities at regional level in Europe, entered in conflict with  Discovery, elimating the TV channel, on Friday, from its Romanian sattelite platform Digi, after eliminating it from cable and satellite also in Hungary, on November 20th. The removal of Discovery from the program portfolio was made by RCS&RDS without informing its subscribers and people are demanding, on company’s Facebook page,  to have the channel back.

The move comes as RCS recently launched 2 own documentaries TVs, Digi Life and Digi World, with another channel, Digi Animal World, being prepared for launch.

Discovery Networks confirmed for Romanian journalists that Discovery Channel was removed from RCS&RDS satellite platform. The measure comes as the current agreement for distribution between Discovery and RCS&RDS reaches to an end on November 30th and Discovery’s commercial offers were rejected by RCS until now.

We want to say we didn’t ask, never during the negotiations, any increase of the tariffs  for our channels distribution. Even in those circumstances, the operator already modified its programs schedule in Romania, eliminating Discovery World from all its packages, along with TLC and Animal Planet from some packages, with notifying us in advance and without notifying their own subscribers. Moreover, this morning, we found out that RCS&RDS removed Discovery Channel from Digi Satelit platform. We are very disappointing of what is happening now and we thing that viewers opinion matters; we encourage them to express it by contacting their cable TV operator as soon as possible

Discovery officials.

According to Mediafax, that quotes CNA representatives,  RCS&RDS demanded and received permission, on November 13th, to modify its Digi programs offer by removing Discovery Channel.

In what concerns Hungary,  Discovery Networks representatives, quoted by Origo.hu, accuse Digi (owned by RCS) of deliberately and unilaterally breaching the contract with Discovery Networks related to Discovery Channel distribution, eliminating it from digital and analog cable packages.

Paginademedia.ro writes that, following Discovery’s removal from RCS packages, Discovery Channel launched a special website for RCS&RDS subscribers. On a dedicated page for Romania, there are banners with the most known shows from Discovery and messages on a simple idea: here’s what you will loose if you won’t have Discovery anymore. A similar page exists also for Hungary (www.discoverybaratai.com/)

“We are deeply sorry to announce you that the retransmission agreement between Discovery Networks and RCS&RDS is going to expire on November 30th. In spite of our efforts to reach a new agreement with RCS&RDS, that we employed on a negotiation period of couple months, they rejected all our proposals” – it is explained on the prietenii.discovery.ro website.

“ (…) If we want to help us keep Discovery Channels in RCS&RDS programs portfolio, express your point of view – contact CS&RDS”, the website says.

A message for the public – “You might loose this channel” – was also broadcasted within Discovery programs.

RCS&RDS is one of the important TV services providers in CEE and, during last years, it developed its own range of TV channels. In present, the company has news stations (Digi 24 HD),  movie channels (Digi Film) and sports TVs (Digi Sport) and is shareholder in Music Channel, H!T Music Channel and  UTV.

Discovery Networks CEEMEA is a division of Discovery Communications, one of the most important companies in the world when it comes of documentaries. In CEEMEA, Discovery is distributing 14 brands translated in 27 languages, reaching to 244 subscribers in 118 countries. In Romania, Discovery Networks distributes, in present, Discovery Channel, TLC, Animal Planet, Discovery World, Discovery Science, Discovery HD Showcase and ID Investigation Discovery.