France okays TF1 acquisitions

By Robert Briel
January 27, 2010 08.32 UK

The French competition authority has given the green light for the acquisition of the channels TMC and NT1 by the country’s biggest commercial broadcaster, TF1, but has set a number of conditions.

The Autorité de la concurrence ruled that for a period of five year the advertising sales of TF1 and the newly acquired channels should remain separate and that no cross-channel discounting will be allowed. The Competition Authority was keen to preserve “the independence offers advertising space between TF1, on the one hand, and TMC and NT1 on the other”. To this effect, ad sales TMC and NT1 must be handled by a separate sales company.

With regards to programme rights, TF1 will not be permitted to schedule programmes from one broadcaster on another channel and the number of repeats on each channels will be capped. Also, cross promotion of the channels will not be allowed.

TF1 acquired the two channels in order to counteract its falling audience share due to increased competition on the digital terrestrial network. Last September the media authority CSA already gave its blessing on the acquisitions posing a number of similar restrictions.