Vivendi-owned French pay TV operator Canal+ has filed a complaint with the country’s Conseil d’État contesting the legality of media regulator the CSA’s decision to relax a number of obligations that were previously applied to commercial broadcasters TF1 and M6.
Canal+ is challenging the CSA’s decision to allow TF1 to play adverts during its news programmes, arguing that this will distort the market.
Canal+ has also contested the CSA’s decision to remove an obligation that TF1 should broadcast an hour-long primetime political news magazine, an obligation the broadcaster had in any case not adhered to. The pay TV operator objected to the way this obligation had been removed without an official announcement.
Canal+ also contested a move by the CSA to relax an obligation for France’s other main commercial broadcaster M6 to reduce the amount it spent on music programming from €20.7 to €19 million. The pay TV outfit had previously said there was an interest in several broadcaster being obliged to support music and noted that it had to adhere to a number of obligations to support music on its own C Star channel.
Canal+ has pressed hard for the agreements between the CSA and the two commercial broadcasters to explicitly rule out retransmission payments – something TF1 in particular has aggressively sought from operators. The broadcaster recently struck an agreement with SFR that saw the Altice-owned operator give ground on this demand in exchange for the right to carry an expanded range of digital services.
The CSA has resisted pressure to include any clause ruling out retrans payments in the broadcasters’ agreements.
Despite giving ground to the commercial broadcasters in a number of areas, the CSA rejected demands from TF1 to remove obligations to air news magazines, reduce the amount of news aired and to reduce the amount of kids programming it carried. It also refused to allow cross-promotion of news channel LCI. It also rejected requests from M6 to further adjust its music and kids programming obligations.