Orange loses sports channel exclusivity

The Paris commercial court has ordered Orange to make its premium channel Orange Sport available to all French TV platforms on a non-exclusive basis. Owner France Telecom is expected to appeal against the decision that followed a complaint by IPTV rivals Free and SFR.

Orange now has one month to provide rival operators with a wholesale offer for the carriage of the channel or face a penalty set at 50,000 per day. The court told France Telecom that the existing proposition that bundled together a number of distinct services was unfair and that by reserving the channel previously branded as Orange Foot for itself it had gained an unfair advantage in winning customers from its rivals.

Earlier this month Canal+ CEO Bertrand Meheut accused Orange of bundling its premium sports and movie channels to its ADSL service, while selling access to top-flight French football at a loss.