Orange pulls Altice local channels in new carriage fee dispute

Orange sees TV base declineFrench telecom giants Altice and Orange are locked in a renewed battle over carriage of TV channels.

Orange stopped distributing Altice’s nine local channels, including BFM Paris and BFM Lyon a week ago, a move first reported this week by French publication Stratégies.

The move comes after the pair failed to reach agreement on carriage fees for the local channels. Orange and Altice Média struck an agreement previously for carriage of Altice’s national channels – notably BFM TV, RMC Story and RMC Découverte.

Orange subscribers are now unable to access the local channels via their set-tops, although the services remain available via digital-terrestrial TV and the internet.

Orange confirmed to French press that it had failed to strike an agreement for carriage of the channels, although it continues to carry the national channels.

History of conflict

Altice has been in conflict with Orange previously following a similar battle between the service provider and national broadcasters TF1 and M6.

In 2018, TF1 demanded carriage fees for its channels from France’s telcos and withdrew its channels from Orange’s service before an agreement was finally struck, based on TF1’s provision of additional services such as catch-up TV and additional content.

Altice failed to strike similar terms for its own channels, reflecting its second-rank status in France’s TV channels ecosystem.

However, the group’s acquisition of a wide range of regional channels and its planned acquisition of channels currently owned by TF1 and M6 to facilitate the pair’s planned merger have strengthened its position. Its local channels count an audience of around five million, according to Médiamétrie figures.

Altice Média owns 10 local channels following a spate of acquisitions: BFM Marseille, BFM Nice Côte d’Azur, BFM Toulon Var, BFM Lyon, BFM Paris Île-de-France, BFM Grand Lille, BFM Grand Littoral, BFM D’Ici Alpes du Sud, BFM d’Ici Haute Provence, and LCN (La Chaîne Normande).

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