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BFMTV basks in ratings success despite Champions League controversy

Altice France-owned news channel BFMTV has been basking in rating success following its broadcast of the weekend’s Champions League final between Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur in Madrid, despite a bubbling controversy over whether it should have aired the match.

The channel was the third most-watched channel in France as a result of airing the market, which garnered 2.5 million viewers or 14.3% of the total audience.

Altice France has however had a difference of opinion with media regulator the CSA over whether it was authorised to air the final, which had to be show free-to-air in France under local regulations.

The CSA had issued a warning that airing the football match was not authorised under the terms of the channel’s convention.

BFMTV told French newspaper Le Monde that it was not seeking a confrontation with the regulator but that its interpretation of its convention differed slightly from that of the CSA.

Altice France holds the rights to the Champions League until 2021, with most matches being aired exclusively on pay TV service RMC Sport.

Last Wednesday, the group aired the final of the Europa League, which it was also obliged to distribute free-to-air, on its RMC Story channel.

Altice France CEO Alain Weill said that BFMTV’s convention allowed it to air events of major importance and pointed out that TF1-owned news channel had previously aired a France-Australia match on a time-shifted basis during last year’s World Cup.