TF1 re-enters pay TV world with Lib’Télé

French broadcaster TF1 is set to re-enter the pay TV world five years after the merger of TPS with Canal Plus.

The commercial broadcaster is launching a pre-paid offering on the country’s digital-terrestrial platform. TF1 has teamed up with electronics retailer Boulanger to launch the pre-paid card, which will give access to news channel LCI and sports channels Eurosport and CFoot under the brand name Lib’Télé. Potential subscribers can visit one of 120 Boulanger shops to buy a DTT set-top priced at €39.90, with the pre-paid offering available at €19.90 for three months. According to Le Figaro newspaper, the offering, which has been in preparation in secret for about a year and is launched today, will aim to attract several hundred thousand subscribers between now and the end of next year.

TF1 advertising and distribution chief Laurent Solly said that DTT offered the only distribution mechanism with universal coverage and low barriers to entry, and added that it was important to trial a new way of commercialising pay TV on the platform.

TF1’s move is seen in part as a riposte to Canal Plus, which has announced its entry into free TV with the acquisition of Bolloré’s Direct 8 and Direct Star channels. Canal Plus’s own pay offering on the digital-terrestrial platform has about half a million subscribers.

Read Next