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Media groups condemn TF1 approval

A number of French media groups have expressed concern about regulator the CSA’s approval of commercial broadcaster TF1’s acquisition of digital-terrestrial channels TMC and NT1.

The approval will enable TF1 to acquire an additional 40% stake in TMC, taking its total to 80%, and 100% of NT1. Rival M6 is the leading voice of protest, arguing that the approval is a gift to TF1 that puts the earlier suppression of advertising on public broadcaster France Télévisions’ channels in the shade. Media group Bolloré, which is acquiring the Virgin 17 channel from Lagardère, has also expressed its disquiet.

The CSA approved the sale of the channels to TF1 earlier this week, but set a number of conditions to ensure competition in digital-terrestrial TV, including a ban on the promotion of the channels’ programming on the main TF1 channel and limits on the re-broadcast of certain programmes from TF1 to one of the two channels.