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Numericable-SFR takes on Canal+ with competition watchdog

facade_campus_sfr_maxime_dufour__photographies_3Numericable-SFR has lodged a complaint against Canal+ with France’s competition regulator, the Autorité de la Concurrence, over the pay TV group’s distribution practices, according to French financial daily Les Echos.

According to Les Echos, citing unnamed sources, the Altice-owned cable and telecom group has taken issue with Canal+’s agreements with distributors such as Orange and Free whereby the pay TV group maintains and direct relationship with the end customer and the telecom operators receive a commission.

Numericable-SFR has adopted a strategy of seeking exclusive content deals, such as its recent acquisition of English Premier League football, and is less willing than other French telcos to accept the role of passive redistributor of content.

Canal+ currently provides its Canalsat offering to SFR’s ADSL customers, while Numericable cable customers do not have access to the same offering. Numericable has lost its ability to offer a number of channels, such as Eurosport, independently as Canal+ secured exclusive rights to distribute these channels.

Numericable-SFR may also be concerned about the prospect of a rapprochement between Canal+ owner Vivendi and Al Jazeera-owned BeIN Sports whereby Canal+ could secure exclusive carriage of the BeIN Sports channels.

The combined Numericable SFR group is also in the process of trying to migrate SFR’s ADSL-based customers to Numericable’s high-speed cable network.