TF1 and M6 to close down low-pay TF6

April 25, 2014 10.41 Europe/London By Robert Briel

TF6_logoFrench private broadcasters TF1 and M6 are closing down their digital terrestrial low-pay channel TF6 at the end of the year.

According to Les Echos the channel has been racking up,losses since 2009. Last year alone, the channel lost around EUR1 million.

At the moment, TF6 has around 400,000 paying subscribers, and is also distributed on CanalSat and Numericable. Income is derived from advertising and subscriptions, but both are going down. The two TF6 owners do not see this trend reversing and will now pull the plug at the end of the year, when all contractual obligations will run out.

The announcement comes at the time when the pay channels on the digital terrestial TNT platform are facing a difficult time. LCI, La Chaîne d’Information from the groupe TF1, and Paris Première, owned by M6, have both requested to stop encryption of the signals. French regulator CSA will hear their cases during May. The CSA will hear news channel LCI’s case on May 7, while Paris Premiere can make its case on May 19. The CSA is set to decide on the matter in June 2014.

Should the CSA allow the transition of both Paris Premiere and LCI to free-to-air, then Eurosport will be the only remaining pay channel on DTT. However, since Eurosport has been acquired by Discovery, the channel will automatically lose its terrestrial licence as foreign ownership of a DTT channel is not allowed under French law. At the moment, TF1 still holds 80% in Eurosport France, which it said will keep until at least January 1, 2015.

TF6 was founded in December 2000 by M6 and TF1 when they decided to bring together their two competitor family oriented channels on the former TPS platform. The joint venture now operates TF6 and SerieClub.