French pay TV operator Canal+ has secured agreement from media regulator the Conseil Supérieur de l’Audiovisuel (CSA) for the renewal of its presence on the country’s digital-terrestrial platform for the next three years.
The CSA’s authorisation covers the period up to December 6 2023.
The announcement, which came just ahead of the expiry of Canal+’s previous licence to broadcast via the terrestrial airwaves, follows a period of uncertainty as to whether the pay TV operator would continue to use the network.
Canal+ says that the DTT network accounts for just 5% of its French domestic subscriber base.
While the operator could try to migrate its DTT subscribers to IPTV or satellite distribution if it withdraws, it is believed that up to half of those who receive the signal terrestrially could churn, according to local reports, leading to a significant loss of subscribers and revenue.
In September, in an audience with the CSA, CEO Maxime Saada made it clear that he was prepared to walk away from terrestrial distribution unless the company secured some amendments to regulatory requirements and tax obligations.
Saada had previously complained that the costs of distribution on DTT were extremely high and lamented an upping of VAT from 5.5% to 10% that would cost Canal+ an estimated €120 million.
The pay TV operator was nevertheless the only candidate for the frequency.
According to the CSA, the “essential” commitments required under the current licence remain in place, with a number being reinforced – notably those relating to accessibility during primetime viewing hours and commitments to support local production in French overseas territories and departments.
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