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Back-to-basics strategy sees Orange reduce investment in exclusive content

France Telecom-Orange CEO Stéphane Richard has unveiled a five-year plan called Conquests 2015 designed to set out the “challenges and perspectives that lie ahead”, confirming the group’s business activities and “regaining a sense of pride within the company.”

Richard said Orange would review its strategy of buying exclusive TV rights to sports and entertainment after admitting that the strategy had failed to attract new subscribers. The Orange Sports and Orange Cinema channels are available to the group’s internet and fixed telephony customers. Richard said Orange would reduce its investment in exclusive content by attracting partners to invest in its channels and potentially take a 50% share in them. He said Orange would not bid alone for the next auction of French football rights in 2012.

The decision is part of a move to get back to basics; Richards reaffirmed that the company’s networks are its core business and its future. It plans to increase coverage and bandwidth for both fixed and mobile networks, in both mature and emerging countries. In France, Orange will invest €2bn by 2015 to deploy a new fibre optic network. This will guarantee coverage for 40% of households through coverage in every region of mainland France by 2012 and in every département by 2015 (including the three overseas territories).

Orange plans to grow from almost 200 million customers at present to 300 million by 2015 across its entire footprint. It is also aiming to generate organic cash flow of €8bn for 2010 and 2011.