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Canal+ and BFM TV move to head off LCI threat

Canal+ and BFM TV have moved to head off the threat of TF1’s news channel LCI becoming a free-to-air digital-terrestrial service ahead of a French Senate vote on the matter. 

Last week Canal+, which owns rival free news channel iTélé, and BFM TV submitted two studies to show the adverse impact on the market of allowing LCI to become a free service, and argued that any move to allow media regulator the CSA to permit a pay TV channel to change the terms of its licence and become free-to-air would be illegal.

According to the pair, EU rules state that any move to transfer a frequency from pay TV to free-to-air should involve a new tender process, and the proposed Senate amendment would be anti-constitutional as it would represent a break with the principal of equal treatment of channels.