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Home | Torrevieja | TV Wars continue in Torrevieja

TV Wars continue in Torrevieja

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TV Wars continue in Torrevieja

If the likes of EastEnders, Emmerdale, Coronation Street and Top Gear disappeared from TV screens across the Southern Costa Blanca tomorrow; what would your reaction be? Shock! Horror! Indignation! Maybe all of these but for most, not surprise.

Back in August 2008, Spain’s largest rebroadcasting company, Telmicro Levante was raided and closed down by officers of the Guardia Civil. Since then rumours and allegations have been rife about inside dealings, mafia connections, political pressure groups and conspiracy theories. With the court system in Alicante Province under extreme pressure, with no end in sight, the legal case against the owners and staff of Telmicro Levante has not been heard yet.

In the meantime, Telmicro have launched a counter case against rival Torresat. They have also been given permission to re-open the legal aspects of their business and to rebroadcast any ‘legal channels’. Telmicro have stated that during the run up to the last local election, Torresat tried to put pressure on Telmicro by asking them to add local programming and to run party political broadcasts, which they refused to do. The end result was that Telmicro was closed down and their equipment dismantled. In the meantime, competitors in the shape of Torresat, Superbeam, Simusat and others have benefited by increasing their client base. To further confuse the issue, Sumusat have started rebroadcasting to an estimated 15,000 clients from the old offices of Telmirco. It’s unclear and unsubstantiated if there is any connection between the ownership of Telmicro and this new start-up.

A year ago, it was estimated that Telmicro had between 50,000 to 70,000 subscribers. With a subscription rate of 20 euros per month, it is possible that earnings were in excess of a million euros per month, an attractive amount, for organised crime and political parties to take an interest in. There has been talk in the press indicating that the reason that Telmicro was closed down was because of inaccurate paperwork, dual book-keeping, tax dodging, missing signatures, lack of the correct licenses and even the illegal rebroadcasting of subscription TV services. Until the case reaches court, these facts shall probably not be officially revealed

The one common denominator of all these rebroadcasting companies is that they rebroadcast Free To Air (FTA) television signals however; none of them seem to be able to provide legal paperwork stating that they have paid for the rights from each and every one of the FTA channels to do so. BBC and ITV have stated that they do not have the rights to sell on their own channel rebroadcasting rights as they themselves negotiate rates with hundreds of individual production companies for the UK rights and these do not cover Europe. Confused? No wonder it’s taking so long to come to the Spanish Court system!

The case in point is that it’s not illegal to rebroadcast FTA channels. It’s perfectly legal to charge for the equipment, a maintenance contract and upgrades. As an individual or a community, many have installed large satellite dishes that can pick up the majority of English Language TV stations. Some individuals have installed small one-metre dishes which provide limited news, kids, sports and entertainment in English and other languages.

The problems stem from making a profit from charging monthly subscriptions for such a service. The grey area seem to be the understanding, or lack of it, as to what constitutes a ‘legal channel’. Ask those in the UK what a ‘legal’ channel is and they will mostly say “one that all rights or production has been paid for”.

The first nail in the rebroadcasting coffin may be that the Spanish Secretary of Telecommunications is now aware of the rebroadcasting of the Torresat Group amongst others and that the distributor Filmax is considering taking action against those using their content without the correct licences in place.  

Who needs boring old soap operas and reruns of classic British Telly when it all happens right here on our door step. In the meantime, don’t be surprised to learn that this is not the last you shall hear of ‘Torregate’ and that the only way that you can sure of not losing your English Language telly anytime in the future, is to obtain your signal through a satellite dish or a legal Internet service.

Keith Nicol

Subscribe to comments feed Comments (11 posted)

Hacienda Riquelme 24 April, 2010 07:19:42
We have over 400 TV channels piped to us through a central system at Polaris World and pay monthly. By all accounts perfectly legal? I think the Spanish authorities overlook this to keep the Brits happy.
christine 13 April, 2010 12:41:28
it is ok saying get a dish the problem we have is that the spainish live above us and will not allow us on the roof. and i do not want yo watch soaps just some entertainment in winter in my own language its my human rights,i know brits are not used to thease.
eil driver 19 November, 2009 02:45:06
are superbeam ripping people off,the box stops working the say you need a new one and charge 250.00e to restart your contract.Im sure these new boxes dont cost any where as much money ,best to change suppliers.
Lyn Morgan 04 November, 2009 12:16:32
Rusty Drewett......Thank you for your information on freeview. I am a lady on her own and was looking for some information as I have duped by an Enlish,,engineer . He took my good box which had served me well and sold a dud Amstrad which didnt work very well. So I am going to do what you suggested .Thank you again . I havent had Tv for three months. Lyn Morgan Gran Alacant
Tele Micro Box 12 September, 2009 09:02:49
It is illegal for them to take another companies box. If and when the other company may ask for it, it is down to you to give it to them or you will have to pay. I know many companies do this, it is just another perk. So be very careful you signed an agreement, maybe you should read this.
Charlie 26 August, 2009 11:44:55
When Torrestat re-installed my "TV" the engineer took the Tele-Micro box,so maybe they have some connection
james brown 16 August, 2009 06:13:49
can someone please tell me if there is going to be a bus service from alicante airport directly to torrevieja...
Linda C Walton 07 August, 2009 07:17:52
As english expats the one thing we enjoy is to watch english language TV, when we came over to live some two anf a half years ago now the one thing we missed was to watch good drama, bbc news etc etc, we do not watch soaps such as eastenders or coronation street butg we can see that there are many english over here who do like to watch them. We were told when we first came over that to receive british tv here was illegal, so that means all of us who do receive it are going to be marched off to jail, what a load of ****!!!, one excuse I have been told is that we have no right to receive brit tv because we do not pay for a tv license when most of us would more than willingly pay for a form of overseas license if that makes us legal.
paul 07 August, 2009 04:57:56
Wonderful! If only they would remove Eastenders,Coronation Street and all the other garbage that is shown on the TV in the UK.As for watching programmes made in the USA,forget it! Learn Spanish and get out more.Surely you didn't move to Spain to watch UK television?Or do you feel uneasy unless you live on an urbanisation,surrounded by Brits,watching UK programmes,so that you can all talk about them in a UK styled bar that serves UK food???????
paul 05 August, 2009 09:27:21
Have to agree with not bothering with eastenders. Though Spanish terrestrial not that great and not all of the films in dual language, though perhaps matter will improve over time.

Your own satellite dish pointed to Astra, with a freeview receiver will give you BBC, ITV & 100's more - without
relying on any third party rebroadcaster
Rusty Drewett 05 August, 2009 08:19:41
There is a really simple solution to TV problems. Buy a digital TV and TDT box and watch the Spanish Freeview Channels. Oh yes you can watch in English!
We bought a new integrated TV last year plugged into the block system that is it no more charges.
Most films and series are made in US and are made in dual language. So there is never a shortage of TV to watch. The bonus is that my husband has to watch the news in Spanish and it is doing wonders for his knowledge of the language, and also our understanding of Valencian.

I will admit I do not understand why of you have made the decision to move to this wonderful country why you want to watch Eastenders etc. anyway.
total: 11 | displaying: 1 - 11

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