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Mediawan strikes deal with TF1 to rebrand AB Moteurs as Automoto

French media group Mediawan, owner of AB Group’s channels, has struck a deal with TF1 that will see the pair rebrand motorsport channel AB Moteurs as Automoto.

The change, which will take place in time for the post-summer season, will see the channel take the name of TF1’s flagship motorsport show, broadcast on its flagship channel each Sunday.

Mediawan said that the spirit of the Automoto show would infuse programming on the channel.

According to the company, the new channel will offer the best of automotive-related lifestyle programming and would include coverage of competitions such as the NASCAR Cup Series and the Paris Supercross.

The new programming line-up will include a magazine show dedicated to vintage cars, shows about motorbikes and other auto-related content.

AB Moteurs is currently distributed on Canal+, Orange, Free, SFR, Bouygues, AB Group’s Bis service, and OTT TV services Molotov and Watch It and reaches about 14 million homes, according to Mediawan.

The move will fuel speculation that Mediawan plans to phase out the AB brand as part of its strategy to establish itself as a European leader in premium audiovisual content.

Mediawan acquired AB Group last year in a deal worth €280 million. AB Group CEO Orla Noonan, who jointed Mediawan’s strategic committee is expected to leave the company following the integration of the group and Mediawan’s new organization around four strategic poles of original drama and factual production, animation, programme distribution and channel creation and associated digital services, announced after its acquisition of a majority stake ON Entertainment last month.