Conflict between TF1 and Canal +, TF1 / M6 merger or even the arrival of Netflix in TV advertising: current audiovisual issues were invited on Friday during the great traditional debate of the festival.
Conflict TF1/Canal+TF1/M6 merger, arrival of Netflix in TV advertising: the burning audiovisual issues were invited on Friday during the great traditional debate of the La Rochelle fiction festival which brought together big bosses and main players in the sector.
The debate set promised to be spicy in view of the guests invited to debate on “growing painsof fiction and the commercial battles that agitate them, apart from this annual meeting in La Rochelle where audiovisual professionals present their new fictions for the coming year. The first to throw a stone into the pond, Gilles Pélisson, CEO of the TF1 group, currently in a commercial and legal dispute with the Canal+ group, which since the beginning of September has interrupted the broadcasting of TF1’s free channels, failing to have found a financial agreement for distribution between the two groups.
The Canal+ customeris a prisoner“, denounced the number one of TF1, separated from a seat – that of Delphine Ernotte, president of France Televisions – of the president of the executive board of Canal +, Maxime Saada. “Distorting competition when you know you won’t risk losing your customers is a little easy and I find it deeply shocking and that’s not my business ethics.“, he lambasted. At Canal+, unsubscribing is possible once a year but, “if you missed this window, you’re screwed and I call it the +prisoner client theory+“, argued the leader.
Three days earlier, TF1 claimed in court that Canal+ restore its channels on the TNT Sat satellite offer, which allows homes not served by terrestrial DTT to receive TV. A decision will be rendered on September 22 in this case. “For us, it’s quite simple: we broadcast all the free channels and our subscribers are not ready to pay for TF1, which is a free channel.“, replied the boss of Canal +, recalling that TF1 had claimed “a substantial increase» by 50%.
Quickly the proposed merger between TF1 and M6, currently being studied by the Competition Authority, was also invited into the debate. “The college is thinking” and “it will probably not be an easy decision“, declared Gilles Pélisson, evoking “extremely violent opponents of this ambition“. “We have seen the arguments that are opposed to us, we are very aware of it“, he said.
For his part, Thomas Valentin, vice-president of the management board of M6, estimated that whatever the Authority’s verdict was going to be “the market (was) going to have to adaptto find solutions forbetter amortize the costs, rights” in order to “to be able to put in more money per program“. “We’re in an ultra-competitive market, it’s as if 20 years ago ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox had landed in France with all the American programs in French and French programs, that’s kind of what is happening today with the platforms and with incredible speed“, he defended.
Added to this is a steady decline in the viewing time of terrestrial television, especially among those under 50, he explained. Another thorny issue for television channels: the arrival of Netflix on their advertising market. An actor like thiscan destabilize the sector: will it communicate its audiences? Its advertising performance?“asked the boss of TF1.
A concern that Maxime Saada, the only speaker on the panel of guests opposed to a TF1/M6 merger, brushed aside. “The television advertising market has not really fallen over the past ten years, there is not really a digital substitution today“, he opposed. Advertisers choose television advertising for “reach a massive audience simultaneously, which does not exist on platforms and on this market, the TF1-M6 group would not even be dominant, but monopolistic“, he advanced.