Canal Plus must make movie channels available to ISPs

Pay TV operator Canal Plus has lost the latest stage of its battle to overturn the French competition regulator’s remedies imposed in July as conditions for the renewal of approval of its 2007 merger with TPS.

The country’s Conseil d’Etat has rejected Canal Plus’s request that the remedies be immediately suspended, meaning that the pay TV operator must now make its movie channels available to third-party ISPs.

The Conseil d’Etat is investigating on two separate elements – the competition authority’s decision to withdraw its approval of the Canal Plus-TPS merger in 2011 and its imposition of remedies this year. It will make a ruling on the former by the end of this year.

In the meantime, however, Canal Plus must implement the conditions imposed by the competition authority. In particular it must make three premium movie services – Ciné+ Premier, Ciné+ Frisson and Ciné Emotion – available to ISPs including Orange, SFR, Bouygues Telecom and Free at a price regulated by the authority. Canal Plus CEO Bertrand Méheut has claimed that this will lead to a loss of 300,000 subscribers from CanalSat during the first year and 100,000 from Canal Plus, leading to a reduction in its top line of €170 million and a drop in its bottom line of €130 million.