LCI and Paris Première forbidden on free DTT

Pascale Paoli-Lebailly ©RapidTVNews | 07-12-2011

French regulatory body CSA has rejected TF1 and M6’s request regarding the transfer of their respective channels LCI (news) and Paris Première (entertainment) from pay to free DTT.

The CSA says that it has based its judgement on technical and economic reasons, judged unfounded by M6 CEO Nicolas de Tavernost. TF1 had made such a request as the exclusive contract provider with satellite platform CanalSatellite and had proposed a €5 million non-exclusive contract and a €15 million exclusive contract. A few weeks ago, TF1 threatened to close the channel if it was not carried on free DTT. Since then, TF1 has signed deals with SFR, Orange and Bouygues to get its channel broadcast on ADSL platforms, and is talking with Free and Numericable.
However, both private groups have other plans for free DTT, after the recent call for bids regarding six new HD channels in 2012 that will be carried either on free or pay DTT.
TF1 will apply for its cable, satellite series channel TV Breizh while M6 will promote its family channel project. For now, some 20 projects have already applied to get a free or pay DTT frequency, such as Allociné TV, Chérie HD, L'Equipe TV, RMC Sport, young adult channel MCE.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy has also announced that French State will not pre-empt any frequency for PSB group France Télévisions or international news channel France 24. FTV project to launch France 5 in HD or a youth channel is definitely dead.