France: Orange content threatened

Following the loss last week of its exclusive rights to distribute the iPhone in France, following a competition ruling, Orange is facing a new threat. Included in the reform of the audiovisual sector, French Deputies have voted through an amendment that would forbid internet access suppliers like Orange from selling TV subscriptions exclusively to their customers.

If confirmed in the Senate early next year, Orange would not be authorized to offer its new pay-TV channels Orange Foot and Orange Cinéma Séries to its own subscribers only.

The ruling would be welcomed by competitors SFR and Free, both of whom have already asked Orange to be able to offer these channels.

But this option doesn’t amuse competitor Canal+ and could compromise Orange’s investment in contents. Exclusivities help the group make heavy investments into contents more profitable by recruiting new subscribers. If Orange apparently seems to be ready to distribute, after a certain time, its five channels Orange Cinéma Series on other platforms, it doesn’t agree for soccer channel Orange Foot, into which the company has poured €203 million.

Another amendment voted through by Deputies is related to childhood protection. If confirmed in the Senate next January, the TV regulatory body the CSA will have to control ad contents on video sharing platforms like Dailymotion or YouTube.

The amendment says that CSA must be watchful that “advertising used by website editors is not harmful to the physical, mental or moral development of minors.”