TF1 to maintain thematic model

November 10, 2009

TF1 has ruled out further distribution of its thematic channels in France after platform operators failed to make sufficient offers for their carriage. The commercial broadcaster contacted satellite, DSL and DTT platforms in mainland France and its overseas departments and territories with a view to extending the reach of Eurosport, Eurosport 2, LCI, TV Breizh, Histoire and Ushuaïa TV.

According to TF1, the principal operators Groupe Canal+, Orange, Free, SFR, TV Numéric, TNS, Parabole Réunion and Médiaserv were interested in the channels but “the proposals were not sufficiently attractive in financial terms, mainly due to the crisis in the advertising sector”. In its nine-month financial report, TF1 concluded that the current exclusive distribution model adopted by its theme channels was the correct one.

Eurosport France has suffered under the advertising downturn, not helped by the absence of marquee events such as the Olympics, but at 7.4 million paying subscribers it is ahead of where it was in 2008.

The international version of the sports channel was available in 117.4 million homes at the end of September 2009, 2.4 million more than in September 2008, and including 75.8 million paying subscribers. Growth has come from 1.8 million subscribers in Poland, Romania and Russia and 900,000 in Southern Europe following new agreements with Dogan (Turkey), Sogecable (Spain) and Meo (Portugal).

Subscription revenues have been boosted by Eurosport HD, now in 4 million hones, and Eurosport 2 that reached 38 million paying subscribers. However, advertising revenues fell by 25.6% to €47.4 million