French media regulator the CSA has said that Canal Plus should be allowed to acquire Bolloré’s free-to-air channels Direct 8 and Direct Star but has added a few recommendations to the measures earlier proposed by the country’s competition authority.
The CSA said that the competition authority should impose a strict structural separation between the acquisition of content for the free channels and that for Canal Plus’s pay services. However, it said that imposing a separation of advertising sales arms for free and pay activities would be disproportionate.
The CSA said there should also be strict independent supervision of the financial terms under which films are acquired for the two free-to-air channels and that Canal Plus’s pay TV arm should not be allowed to acquire free-to-air rights to content it purchases for pay services. Other recommendations include an obligation that Canal Plus should make its film catalogue available to third-party free channels on a non-discriminatory basis and that restrictions should be placed on the sale of Studio Canal films to the two Canal Plus free channels.
The CSA has also recommended that Canal Plus should not be allowed to bundle the acquisition of US series with movies. Canal Plus could also be obliged to sell on sports rights to free channels on a non-discriminatory basis and be obliged to distribute the channels, including catch-up services, on a non-discriminatory basis.
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