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Altice France ‘planning to create new network of local TV channels’ with Vià investment

Altice France is reportedly planning to up its investment in local TV networks in the country dramatically through the acquisition of a stake in Vià, an alliance of local TV services created two years ago.

Alain Weill

According to the Journal du Dimanche, Altice France plans to take a 50% stake in the local channels network, with the final details agreed last week ahead of an official announcement expected at the start of December.

According to the JDD, the move will create a new entity, BFM Vià Région that will comprise 22 channels and will establish a commercial rival to public broadcaster France Télévisions’ France 3 network.

According to the report, Altice France envisages challenging France Télévisions head on by launching its own daily news and discussion show, Vià Matin.

Vià, which was created in September 2017 by former Libérationowner Bruno Ledoux and advertising executive Christophe Musset, comprises six wholly-owned services in Montpellier, Toulouse, Paris, Nîmes, Perpignan and Martinique, and 12 others across metropolitan France affiliated to regional press groups.

Altice France already owns two major regional TV channels – BFM Paris and BFM Lyon Métropole.

Altice France’s BFMTV would bring its news expertise and marketing power to the network.

Altice France last week signed a distribution agreement for its channels BFMTV, RMC Découverte, RMC Story, BFM Business, BFM Paris, BFM Lyon Métropoleand international service i24NEWS with struggling live OTT TV platform Molotov. Altice had previously been in talks to acquire Molotov, but those discussions stumbled over concerns by Molotov investors .

Altice France CEO Alain Weill was forced to admit defeat in September over a battle to secure carriage payment for his channels with ISP Orange and other service providers after Orange declined to pay and cut the channels’ signal.