Xavier Niel fails to displace TF1 and M6 in DTT licence challenge

Xavier Niel

Xavier Niel

French telco billionaire Xavier Niel has failed in his attempt to win a DTT licence. Niel’s ‘Six’ project, presented by his company NJJ, had hoped to displace services operated by TF1 and M6 – but regulator Arcom has stuck with the incumbents.

Following pitches by the three DTT applicants on 15 February, Arcom said: “Meeting in plenary session on Wednesday 22 February 2023, Arcom selected the following projects as a preparatory measure: TF1 and M6. This selection comes after a comparative examination of the application files and the public hearing of the three candidates. It was carried out taking into consideration the criteria mentioned in articles 29, 30 and 30-1 of the law of 30 September 1986, in particular by assessing the interest of each project for the public with regard to the priority imperative of safeguarding the pluralism of currents of socio-cultural expression.”

The Authority will now initiate discussions with the selected candidates in order to conclude an agreement intended to define the obligations and commitments of each of the services. This agreement must be concluded before 5 May 2023.

NJJ pinned its hope on a youth-oriented service, claiming that traditional TV was being “massively deserted by the young” and that there was a need for a new, more innovative entrant to the DTT market. However given the tight timeframe to build an application it was always seen as an outside to win one of the DTT licences.

Following the decision, M6 released a statement saying it “welcomes the selection of the M6 channel by ARCOM as part of the bidding process for the allocation of DTT channel 6. This step enables M6 to consider with serenity the continuation of the broadcasting of its programmes to the public in strict compliance with its obligations”

Tags: M6, TF1

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