TF1 threatens to sue Canal+ as pay-TV giant drops channels – Deadline

French broadcaster TF1 and pay-TV giant Canal+ are embroiled in a new dispute over carriage fees related to the latter’s distribution of TF1’s free-to-air digital terrestrial (DTT) channels.

Canal+ normally broadcasts TF1 and its TFX, TF1 Séries Films and LCI channels as part of its TNT Sat service offering access to all French channels.

The band cut the signal Friday, September 2, however, after negotiations broke down over the renewal of the contract governing the arrangement, which expired on August 31.

Canal+ said TF1 was asking for “substantial compensation” for the right to distribute the channels and the move was unacceptable. “Canal+ subscribers should not pay for free channels,” the group said in a statement over the weekend.

“The TF1 channel distribution contract expired on August 31, 2022,” he continues. “Beyond this period, as TF1 has repeatedly pointed out, Canal+ was no longer authorized to broadcast them. [the channels] in mainland France and we have unfortunately been forced to stop broadcasting them, given the sums requested by TF1.

Canal+ announced that it would bring back TF1’s free channels for all its subscribers within 24 hours as soon as TF1 had accepted that this would entail no additional cost for the group.

TF1 reacted angrily to this decision.

Didier Casas, general secretary of the TF1 group, said in an interview with France Info radio on Monday that TF1 planned to take action against Canal+. “We are not going to let the public be taken advantage of and leave our viewers without the ability to watch our channels,” he said.

The figures for the number of viewers impacted by the removal of the channels are difficult to assess. As an indication, a report by the audiovisual authority Arcom from January showed that 7.9% of households in France access their television channels only via satellite services in 2021.

Many of these households will still be able to access channels via the Internet, but the added inconvenience of moving between platforms is expected to impact TF1’s audience.

French media reported over the weekend that French Culture Minister Rima Abdul Malak had written to Canal+ asking it to “show its sense of responsibility” and not deprive hundreds of thousands of homes of channel access.

TF1 and Canal+ have already clashed over broadcasting rights, which are becoming an increasingly thorny subject in France as elsewhere.

Canal+ had previously pulled the channels from TF1 in 2018, when the latter started introducing fees. The dispute has been resolved but financial details of the new deal have not been released.

The battle in France echoes recent disputes in the United States, such as the falling out between Disney and YouTube TV late last year and friction between Dish Network and Sinclair Broadcast Group in August 2021.

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