Canal + cuts the broadcast of TF1: a timing that challenges

Maxime Saada, le patron de Canal+.

The rag is burning again between TF1 and Canal+. This Friday, the subsidiary of the media giant Vivendi, controlled by Vincent Bolloré, simply decided to cut the signal from the front page, but also from TMC, TFX, TF1 Séries Films and LCI. With regard to the staff of Canal+, TF1 benefits from its ” dominant position “ as part of the renewal of the distribution contract for its DTT channels. Canal+ states in a press release that TF1 is asking it “very substantial pay”. In front of “these unfounded and unreasonable demands” re “channels that are accessible free of charge for all”, Canal+ has decided to interrupt their broadcast.

What arouse the ire of TF1. In a press release, the television group “deeply regrets” the decision of Canal+, which thus “the choice to deprive its subscribers of channels and services that they pay for in their subscription”. TF1 believes that its new conditions are not unreasonable. The group recalls that these have been accepted by all the other distributors. Among them are the telecom operators Orange, SFR, Free and Bouygues Telecom, but also the Molotov and Salto platforms. TF1 also specifies that there are still “open to discussions with a view to finding an agreement quickly”and stop “further penalize the millions of viewers who receive the group’s channels via Canal+”.

Canal+ reluctant to take out the checkbook

This is not the first time that TF1 and Canal+ have fought over this. Four years ago, the latter had no hesitated to cut the signal of TF1 and the DTT channels of the group. At the time, Canal+ had also torpedoed the “financial requirements” of the subsidiary of the Bouygues group, judged “unreasonable and unfounded”. The two stars of the small screen had finally agreed a few months later. But with difficulty, after the CSA, the audiovisual regulator, and the government are stepping up to the plate, and calling on the two groups to bury the hatchet.

The root of the problem remains the same. Canal+ is reluctant to take out the checkbook. Its leaders believe that the channels in question are free, “and must remain so”. The Vivendi subsidiary also argues that by broadcasting them, it helps to boost their audience, which TF1 then monetizes through advertising. But for its part, TF1 considers that it is natural for its distributors to pay for the broadcasting of these channels, which contribute to expanding their content offer. Four years ago, these distribution contracts had, according to our information, reported around 60 million euros per year to TF1.

Unfavorable timing for TF1

In the current conflict, it is the timing of the cut of the signal of the chains of TF1 which challenges. It certainly comes at the end of the last distribution contract with Canal+. But also, and above all, three days before a crucial meeting for Martin Bouygues’ television group. Next Monday, his staff will be heard by the Competition Authority regarding his marriage to M6. But this one has been in trouble since the institution in the rue de l’Echelle proved unfavorable, at the end of July, to this project, which would give birth to a mastodon of television in France. While the opponents of this marriage believe that the TF1-M6 group would be too powerful in the audiovisual landscape, Canal+ takes up this argument on its own by criticizing the ” dominant position “ of the Martin Bouygues subsidiary.

Doesn’t Canal+ try here to destabilize TF1? Or take advantage of the calendar to secure a more favorable financial agreement? Asked by The gallery, Canal+ does not wish to comment. Just a year ago, Maxime Saada, the boss of Canal+, had criticized the merger between TF1 and M6 at the La Rochelle Fiction Festival. According to him, this project “poses risks to the French local ecosystem”without “addressing the global problem of competition” Internet giants and streaming.

The Competition Authority casts a chill over the TF1-M6 deal

Bolloré refuses to comment on the TF1-M6 deal

Since then, the leader has been, publicly at least, discreet on this subject. During a hearing in the Senate last January, Vincent Bolloré, the leader of Vivendi, had, for his part, considered that Canal+ was not “not in competition” with TF1 and M6. TF1 and M6 are French groups, most of whose activity is concentrated in our countrydid he declare. We are too, but we mainly radiate abroad. I am not in the best position to estimate the possible problems that this merger could cause. »