Frances competition regulator has launched an investigation into pay TV operator Canal PlusÂs exclusive agreements with content providers.
Weighing complaints from France Telecom, the competition authority has said it is within its competence to look into Canal PlusÂ exclusive carriage of its own proprietary channels, as well as exclusive agreements signed between Canal Plus and its minority shareholders (notably M6, TF1 and LagardÃ¨re) that were outside the scope of earlier agreements authorised at the time of Canal PlusÂs merger with TPS. The regulator said that it will specifically look at exclusive deals covering the distribution of TF1, M6 and LagardÃ¨reÂs channels on fibre-optic networks, and agreements covering the delivery of the channelsÂ various catch-up services, as well as Canal PlusÂ right of first refusal to certain services from TF1 and LagardÃ¨re. It will also look at Canal PlusÂ deals with independent channels.
The regulator has made an initial assessment that Canal Plus has a dominant position in the market with regard to linear pay TV services, but has asked for more evidence concerning recent changes in the market before making a definitive decision.
The authority has ruled that the deals between Canal Plus, TF1, M6 and LagardÃ¨re that were authorised by the countryÂs economics ministry at the time of the formerÂs merger with TPS are outside the scope of the investigation. It will look at Canal PlusÂ undertakings at the time of the merger under a separate procedure, and will take a decision on that sometime in the first half of 2011.
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