Digiturk to upgrade subscription packages with no live sports offering
Digiturk, the pay-television operator in Turkey owned by the BeIN Media Group, has today announced it will upgrade packages for new and existing subscribers in the country due to its lack of sports coverage.
Despite controversially continuing with games behind closed doors last week, Turkish soccer’s top-flight Super Lig eventually opted to follow many other leagues across Europe by suspending its games because of the global coronavirus pandemic.
Digiturk holds domestic rights to the league (BeIN holds international rights) and with its main offering not available for the foreseeable future, as well as all other live sport, it has decided to provide subscribers with additional content to make up for it.
From today, customers with Digiturk sports subscriptions will have access to all of the broadcaster’s entertainment content for free until live sport resumes, while subscribers with entertainment packages will have free access to streaming service BeIN Connect until the end of March.
In addition, new subscribers to BeIN Connect entertainment will receive the first month free and new subscribers to non-sports packages will get three months’ access to Digiturk’s entertainment content for free.
Despite not having live sports to show, Digiturk will air non-live sports content including full broadcasts of the highest-rated games this season in the Süper Lig, Italian Serie A, France’s Ligue 1, the Uefa Champions League and Europa League, as well as sports magazine shows and interviews.
Digiturk said sports subscribers will continue to have full access “as and when major sports leagues resume action in the coming weeks and months.”
Meanwhile in France, the CSA, the country’s media regulator, has told pay-TV operator Canal Plus to end its free-to-air trial period as it is “likely to alter the balance between pay and free channels.”
Canal Plus also has no live sports to broadcast and had decided to provide subscribers and non-subscribers with free access to its various packages during this period.
However, the broadcaster announced last Friday that it will end the free period by 31 March, with the CSA revealing that it sent a letter to Canal Plus instructing it to do so.
The CSA told French news agency AFP: "Because it is likely to alter the balance between pay and free channels and to challenge the chronology of the media, and it poses questions vis-à-vis other broadcasters and rights holders.”
Canal Plus has domestic rights to Ligue 1 until the end of the season, and has agreed a sub-licensing deal with BeIN for four seasons starting in 2020-21.
Elsewhere, Sport1, the dedicated sports broadcaster in Germany, has partnered with Fifa, world soccer’s governing body, to provide free programming from the 2014 World Cup, which the country won in Brazil.
On 12 April, Sport1 will show ‘Match 64’, a documentary which relives the World Cup final, in which Germany beat Argentina in extra-time, with behind-the-scenes content and interviews with several German players.
The broadcaster will also air ‘Die Mannschaft’, the official documentary which followed the national team throughout the tournament and chronicled their journey to the trophy.
As part of the agreement with Fifa, Sport1 will also have access to ‘Gold Stars’, the governing body’s official series which looks back on previous World Cups. This edition will focus on the German national team’s history in past competitions, with five episodes in all.
The content will also be available free of charge on-demand for seven days after it airs, via the Sport1 media library.
Last week, Fifa decided to open up its archive of classic World Cup matches and make them available for re-broadcast to its rights-holders worldwide to fill the vast live sport void created by the coronavirus outbreak.