Canal+ boss Saada calls on French government to intervene in TF1 dispute

Days after it stopped broadcasting TF1’s channels, Canal+ has called on the French government to step in.

Canal+ CEO Maxime Saada

The Vivendi-owned operator failed to agree new commercial terms with TF1 last week, and subsequently ceased distribution of TF1, TMC, TFX, TF1 Séries Films and LCI. Canal+ argued that TF1 demanded significant remuneration for the transmission of channels that are available free-to-view on digital-terrestrial TV.

Culture minister Rima Abdul-Malak called on Canal+ “to show its sense of responsibility and general interest to avoid depriving hundreds of thousands of households of receiving all DTT channels,” as per a letter seen by Le Parisien.

Maxime Saada, the chairman of Canal+, told weekly outfit Journal du Dimanche that TF1 had requested a 50% rise in its contract, and said “DTT channels – such as those of the TF1 group – are free for the general public and must remain so,”

He went on to say that while Canal+’s negotiations with Bouygues subsidiary TF1 are private, the government has the capacity to intervene and force the broadcaster to drop its demands. Saada said: “Public authorities could call on TF1 to respect the obligation to make its signal available free of charge, which we are calling for.”

In a statement over the weekend, Canal+ said that TF1’s channels were distributed nationally over-the-air using frequencies that had been granted to the company without charge. it reiterated that TF1 beneftied from “the regulatory advantages belonging to free channels” including the privileged position in channel rankings for its flagship channel and the opportunity to distributre exclusively sporting events of national signficance such as the football World Cup – on condition that these remain accessible to all.

TF1 had previously indicated that it remains “open to further discussions” and that it “strongly regrets” the decision making at Canal+.

Read Next