Germany's Kinowelt Medien has slammed local broadcasters RTL and the Kirch Group for supposedly having an understanding akin to a "gentlemen's agreement" after passing on films from Kinowelt's $300m Warner Bros package.

According to local newspaper Financial Times Deutschland, Kinowelt co-president Michael Koelmel said that the two groups of TV channels work together "indirectly" on programme acquisition for pay TV. "It is likely that they also talk about programme acquisition for free TV as well," he reportedly said.

The existence of such an accord has always been vigorously denied by both families of channels, which are supposedly deadly rivals. But RTL and Kirch originally bid for the Warner Bros package, dropping out of the running when Kinowelt offered to what they considered to be inflationary prices.

Kinowelt had so far only sold films from its Warner deal to the two German

public broadcasters, ARD and ZDF. The two broadcasters respectively acquired 24 titles for an estimated $33m and 19 for around $14m.