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Canal Plus wants lifting of restriction on DTT channels

French pay TV provider Canal Plus is lobbying for a lifting of the restriction on the number of digital-terrestrial channels it is allowed to operate. The company is arguing that the rule restricting the number of channels any one company can own to seven should be waived in the case of pay TV channels.

Canal Plus said that the pay TV model is not only based on distribution of individual channels but on being allowed to create a unified offer of channels. The pay TV operator has already reached the seven-channel limit on DTT if the “bonus” channel it has been allocated once French digital switchover is completed is included. Canal Plus has also applied to media regulator the CSA for an additional frequency to distribute its Canal Plus Family channel.

Commercial channel M6, which will have five channels on DTT including its bonus channel, is against any change. Rival TF1’s bonus channel will take it to its limit under the existing rules, but there has been media speculation that the commercial broadcaster is privately concerned that a change in the rules could lead to a restriction being placed based on the size of a broadcaster’s total audience in place of the existing limit on the number of channels.