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Canal+ and Free threaten to drop TF1 as services are cut from Orange

Canal+ and Free have threatened to cut ties with TF1 over the latter’s demands for retransmission fees. France’s leading commercial broadcaster last week said it was pulling its channels from Orange’s network after the pair failed to strike a deal.

Maxime Saada

Maxime Saada

Canal+ CEO Maxime Saada told the Journal du Dimanche that the pay TV operator would not pay to carry TF1’s services, arguing that the commercial broadcaster already profited from that the country’s operators distributed its services to their subscribers.

Saada said that Canal+ had “no intention” of submitting to TF1’s “blackmail” and said that the pay TV outfit was ready to cut TF1’s signal, pointing out that the operator accounted for between 15-20% of the overall audience for TF1’s free-to-air channels.

Maxime Lombardini, CEO of telco Free meanwhile told Le Figaro that discussions between the operator and TF1 had reached a dead end thanks to the “extravagant” demands of the broadcaster. Lombardini said he was “pessimistic” about striking an agreement.

TF1 last week said that it had failed to reach an agreement with Orange over the carriage of TF1 Premium, its extended range of service encompassing not only its free-to-air offerings but catch-up service MYTF1 and new on-demand offerings, and that it was consequently pulling its channels and MYTF1 from Orange’s platform.

Gilles Pélisson

Gilles Pélisson

The move mains that Orange subscribers can no longer access TF1, MYTF1 and digital channels TMC, TFX – formerly NT1 – TF1 Séries Films – formerly HD1 – and news service LCI.

“I regret this situation that deprives Orange’s subscribers from the transmission of TF1, TMC, TFX, TF1 Séries Films and LCI,” said TF1 CEO Gilles Pélisson.

“Our goal remains to find a fair and equitable agreement to offer Orange’s TV subscribers a strong added-value experience around our programmes. Their satisfaction is our priority and we remind them that the transmission of TF1 Group’s channels remains available on MYTF1.fr and the MYTF1 application.”

TF1 last year struck an agreement with France’s other main operator, Altice France/SFR, for its extended offering. It has also struck a deal with sister company Bouygues Telecom.