French news channels in employment offer to head off LCI decision

Nonce Paolini

Nonce Paolini

French free-to-air news channels BFM TV and Canal+-backed i>Télé have reportedly sent a letter to media regulator the CSA promising to recruit two thirds of the staff currently employed by TF1-backed news service LCI if the latter closes down. 

The move, reported by financial daily Les Echos, is seen as a last-ditch move to prevent TF1 being given a green light to migrate LCI from the country’s dying digital-terrestrial pay TV platform to free-to-air. The CSA is expected this week to rule on the future of LCI, alongside that of entertainment channel Paris Première and documentary channel Planète+.

TF1 CEO Nonce Paolini has repeatedly warned that LCI is in danger of collapse if it is not allowed to become a free service.

Paolini told Les Echos that he was “shocked” by the tactics adopted by LCI’s rivals “to kill a competing enterprise”.

The CSA confirmed to L’Express magazine that it had received a letter from the pair. The news magazine reported that BFM TV is ready to create 25 new posts, currently frozen as it awaits the channel awaits the CSA’s verdict on LCI.