RTL boss casts doubt on IPTV

RTS: European broadcaster RTL is reluctant to partner with internet TV platforms such as Virgin’s TiVo and Google TV because of the lack of control it would have over advertising and content.

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Virgin’s TiVo service

Speaking at The Royal Television Society’s convention in Cambridge today (15 September), RTL chief executive Gerhard Zeiler said that talks to partner with online video service Hulu broke down because the American brand was looking to take charge of placing advertising around RTS’ content.

He added that if he were to let other broadcasters, either traditional or internet-based, sell advertising he would “resign and let the mess be picked up by [his] successor.”

Zeiler said he would only work with a company like Google on its TV platform under two conditions: that RTL can serve its own ads in the platform and that the broadcaster has the right to withhold some content from Google.

He added: “First Google has to get our programmes – and we are not so stupid to give away our programmes.”

He also voiced his apathy towards connected TV systems, such as Virgin’s TiVo and Samsung’s Smart TV, saying he believes most people who buy internet-connected TVs will not connect them.

He added: “The normal user only watches seven to ten favourite channels, even in the last four years…and the Twitter and Facebook feeds you can’t even see from three metres away…linear TV viewing increased last year across almost every country in the world.”

Zeiler was speaking in a panel session at discussing the opportunities of Converged TV, chaired by comedian and columnist David Mitchell. Also sat on the panel were: Andrew Barron, chief operating officer at Virgin Media; Richard Halton, chief executive officer of YouView; and Linda Summers, director of product marketing at Skype.

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