French operators Neuf Cegetel and Free offer free access to Canal+ channels

French telecoms operators Free and Neuf Cegetel are offering their IPTV subscribers free access to a number of channels from TV studio Canal+ for a limited period.

Between March 10th and March 23rd, Free is offering its IPTV subscribers free access to the Canal+ premium channels: Canal+, Canal+ Cinéma, Canal+ Sport, Canal+ Décalé and Canal+ Family. Neuf Cegetel meanwhile is offering its IPTV subscribers free access to all Canal+ channels between March 23rd and April 2nd.

Free has not released subscriber figures for its IPTV service 'Freebox TV', while Neuf Cegetel had around 850,000 subscribers for its service 'Neuf TV' at the end of last September. The big rival to both these services however is France Telecom's 'Orange TV', which had around 1.5mn customers at the end of last September

The French telecoms regulator ARCEP recently estimated that there was a total of 5.643mn subscribers to IPTV services in France at the end of the third quarter of 2008, an increase of 1.6mn or 39% from the same period of 2007.