Altice France/SFR appears to have given ground on paying for carriage to secure a deal with commercial broadcaster TF1 that will see the latter’s digital services made available to SFR subscribers along with its linear channels.
After a long stand-off that saw TF1 pull its catch-up service MYTF1 from SFR’s network and demand that the operator stop retransmitting its free-to-air channels too, the pair have agreed to bury the hatchet and end their legal dispute.
Despite describing TF1’s tactics at the time as an “iniquitous attempt to take our customers hostage”, the operator has agreed a new retransmission deal with the broadcaster, terms of which were not disclosed.
In a deal that it said would “reinvent the relationship” between broadcaster and distributor, TF1 has agreed to make an enriched version of MYTF1 available to SFR subscribers. This includes avant-premieres of TF1 programmes, an extension of the catch-up window beyond the current seven-day limit, and access to complete seasons of flagship shows. MYTF1 will reappear on the SFR network as of November 7.
TF1 will also provide start-over functionality, the ability to cast content from other devices to the TV and multiscreen availability of its content to SFR customers.
The deal covers distribution of TF1’s five free-to-air channels and the distribution in 4K quality of matches broadcast by TF1 during the football World Cup in Russia next year.
The agreement will also see TF1 create a new ‘best of’ channel that will be available to SFR customers from the first quarter of next year exclusively for the first six months.
The pair have also agreed to work together to develop advanced advertising solutions.
TF1 will absorb the transport costs for its channels in the clear as part of the deal.
“We are delighted to have concluded this innovative partnership with Altice-SFR, which recognizes the value of our content, moves with the evolution of usage and enriches the experience of viewers. This agreement represents a major advance and opens up a new era in relations between broadcasters and distributors. Our two groups have been keen to privilege the interests of consumers and to strike a fair agreement that allows them to subscriber for the long term,” said TF1 Group CEO Gilles Pélisson.
Alain Weill, CEO of SFR Media, said that the deal would make SFR subscribers “the first to benefit from these very high-added value new services” and would reinforce Altice’s position as the leading content service provider in France.
The agreement is likely to put added pressure on France’s other main operators – Orange and Free – to give ground to TF1’s demands, as well as giving a fillip to rival broadcaster M6’s attempts to secure its own retransmission deals.