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Paolini defends decision to take LCI free-to-air

Nonce Paolini

Nonce Paolini

TF1 Group’s chief executive Nonce Paolini has struck out at Canal+ and other rivals and has said that his group has had no choice but to try to migrate its news channel, LCI to free-to-air on the French digital-terrestrial platform. The move has been blamed for contributing to the rapid decline of the viability of the pay TV service. 

Media regulator the CSA is due to rule at the end of July on whether LCI can migrate to free-to-air, along with general channel Paris Première and documentary channel Planète+.

In an interview with Le Figaro, Paolini said that Canal+ and Numericable had halved the carriage fees they paid for carriage of LCI three years ago and that, if LCI continued on pay TV, the channel’s future would be hard to sustain.

Paolini denied allegations by Canal+ chief executive Bertrand Meheut and Alain Weill, CEO of rival free news service BFMTV that TF1 had a dominant market position in news and in the advertising market. He said that there was a plethora of news programmes from different providers on French TV. Paolini said that TF1 Group had a gross share of 43% in the advertising market but that TMC and NT1 were now part of a separate organisation as far as ad sales are concerned. Paolini said that TF1, far from abusing a dominant position, had lost €400 million in revenues since 2007.