Altice France’s Weill concedes defeat in battle with Orange

Altice France CEO Alain Weill has admitted defeat and will make the group’s TV channels BFM TV, BFM Business, RMC Découverte and RMC Story available free of charge to operators after Orange this week came good on its threat to cut their signal in the absence of a deal between the pair.

Alain Weill

BFM TV disappeared from Orange’s IPTV line-up yesterday morning after the country’s leading telco refused to accede to Altice’s demand for payment.

Rival service provider Free had earlier cut the TV channels from its line-up after similarly refusing to pay carriage fees for the channels.

With BFM TV set to lose a huge portion of its audience, Weill quickly admitted defeat. He said that the did “not want to put BFM TV in danger” and that there was little point in continuing to battler over what were relatively small rewards.

BFM TV’s audience share had reportedly dropped from 2.1% to 1.8% for the 10 days following Free dropping its signal, boosting rival news channels.

Admitting that Altice did not have the negotiating strength of commercial broadcaster TF1, which successfully battled for remuneration with service providers, Weill said that the group could revisit the issue in “a few years” when contracts were once again up for renewal.

Altice France is still seeking payment for distribution of its catch-up TV offering.

The group had reportedly been seeking payment of €4 million a year for the channels and associated digital services from Orange, having successfully struck deals with Bouygues Telecom, Canal+ and SFR, which is also owned by Altice France.

This compares with a reported €15 million that Orange agreed to pay for TF1’s service, which; however, this was offset by a payment from TF1 of around €5 million for technical distribution services.

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