Canal+ drops TF1 channels in fees dispute ahead of crucial merger hearings

Canal+ has stopped distributing TF1 Group’s channels after the pair failed to agree new commercial terms.

The French pay TV operator has ceased distribution of TF1, TMC, TFX, TF1 Séries Films and LCI. The operator blamed the decision on what it described as TF1’s “desire to profoundly its commercial terms” from the expiry of previous contract at the end of August.

Canal+ said that TF1 was demanding significant remuneration for the distribution of channels that are available free-to-view on digital-terrestrial TV.

Canal+ said it was aware that it was making this move ahead of the forthcoming Qatar football World Cup, for which TF1 holds free-to-air rights, but added that its partnership with beIN Sports would enable it to offer complete coverage of the event.

TF1 said it “strongly regrets” Canal+’s decision to remove it channels.

The broadcaster claimed that “Canal+ did not wish to enter into a new distribution agreement” after weeks of talks, “instead preferring to deprive Canal+ subscribers of channels and services which they have paid for as part of their subscription”.

TF1 said it remained “open to further discussions” and noted that viewers could still find its channels on the service and via the MyTF1 app on mobiles and tablets, as well as on digital-terrestrial TV and via other distribution platforms such as Free, SFDR, Bouygues Telecom, Orange, Molotov and Salto.

History of disputes

Canal+ previously cut TF1’s channels during a similar dispute in 2018, when the broadcaster was pushing for remuneration from the pay TV operator as well as the country’s principal internet service providers including Orange, SFR and Free.

At that time TF1 secured agreements that included greater remuneration for additional services such as catch-up TV.

The pair’s latest falling out comes a few days before French competition watchdog the Autorité de la Concurrence is due to begin hearings on the planned merger of TF1 and M6, the country’s two biggest commercial broadcast groups.

TF1 and M6 have faced significant opposition to the plan, and the regulator has signalled that it has strong concerns, leading the broadcasters to offer a series of remedies to secure a green light.

Among the concessions offered was the extension of agreements with distributors including Canal+.

Tags: Canal+, France, TF1

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