This Wednesday will see the launch of six new free-to-air HD channels on the French digital-terrestrial platform – HD1, L’Equipe 21, 6Ter, Numéro 23, RMC Découverte and Chérie 25. The new additions will take the number of national free-to-air services to 25.
The channels will be formally launched at an event organised by media regulator the CSA. Their entry into the market comes at a time when the French advertising market is in trouble and the new French culture minister, Aurélie Filippetti, has admitted that their presence could have a negative effect on the overall TV advertising business.
TF1-backed HD1 and M6-backed 6Ter are expected to be the strongest performers commercially.
About 25.6% of French DTT households will be able to receive the new channels initially, with coverage rising to 97.3% by 2015. The channels will also be available via the country’s IPTV providers as well as via satellite and cable.
The new channels recently collectively lodged a protest with telecom regulator ARCEP about the transmission charges levied by TDF to distribute the services, despite the latter’s claim to have reduced them by, on average, 15%.