TF1 threatens to close news channel LCI

October 2, 2013 08.10 Europe/London By Robert Briel

LCINonce Paolini, CEO TF1, has threatened to close down the group’s news channel LCI (La chaîne d’information) if it cannot broadcast free-to-air.

He told the French press that on December 31, 2014, all 200 of the channel’s employees would lose their jobs due to its closure if the CSA authority does not give it permission to go FTA.

Until now, LCI has been a pay channel as part of the encrypted DTT service TNT.

But with two FTA news channels – BFM TV from NextRadioTV and i-Télé from the Canal+ group – it can’t compete as a premium channel.

“There is room for three news channels,” Paolini said, “I see no reason why there is now a duopoly.”

TF1 has been pushing to move LCI from pay to FTA for some time now, but so far has had no success in doing so.

In a rare insight in the news channels’ finances, Paolini said the broadcaster has to pay €4.5 million in order to broadcast the channel on the DTT network, and loses almost €5m a year.