Brussels, Belgium -- The European Commission last week
approved British Sky Broadcasting plc's plan to acquire a 24-percent stake in
KirchPayTV, the German pay-TV subsidiary of Kirch Group.
KirchPayTV operates Germany's Premiere World digital
pay TV platform. Kirch vice CEO Dieter Hahn said the decision is an important signal for
the development of digital TV in Germany.
The EC decision was criticized by German public broadcaster
ARD, which fears that it may lead to a monopoly in Germany's digital-TV market.
"Consumers will have to pay the price, because big
sports events and great Hollywood entertainment will become more expensive," ARD
chairman Peter Voss said.
BSkyB has agreed to pay DM2.9 billion ($1.45 billion) to
buy into KirchPayTV. Kirch, meanwhile, will acquire 4.3 percent of BSkyB in the
transaction. Premiere World recently announced that it has more than 2 million
subscribers, with about half of those subscribing to digital service.