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Canal Plus wants improved digital terrestrial renewal terms

French broadcast regulator the Conseil supérieur de l’audiovisuel (CSA) has opened talks with Canal Plus over the extension of the pay-television broadcaster’s digital terrestrial licence.

The licence on multiplex R3 is due to expire on December 5 and the CSA launched a tender process in February for the contract.

Canal Plus was announced as the only bidder in the tender in July, but is now said to be fighting for favourable renewal terms.

The CSA yesterday (Wednesday) held a public hearing to discuss the licence with Canal Plus, with French newspaper Les Echos stating that the broadcaster said it could leave the DTT platform unless new rules were introduced to enhance the financial, legal and regulatory environment in which it operates.

Canal Plus president Maxime Saada is said to have stated that the broadcaster is prepared to move its 400,000 DTT subscribers onto another platform, should a favourable agreement not be reached.

Canal Plus is claiming that digital terrestrial distribution is significantly more expensive than satellite, with the latter returning 30 per cent greater revenues whilst costing 2.5 times less, the broadcaster argues.

Canal Plus is currently embroiled in a dispute over the carriage of Téléfoot, the French football subscription service launched by the Mediapro agency. Canal Plus last month said it would not be willing to agree a distribution deal that only allowed it to offer the French football subscription service to its satellite customers.

The Vivendi-owned broadcaster has taken its complaint over carriage negotiations with Mediapro to Paris’ commercial court and Saada has insisted that he is not willing to compromise on restricting the platforms on which Téléfoot could be offered.

In 2018, Canal Plus agreed a distribution deal with telco SFR to make its RMC Sport channels available to its satellite customers only. At the time, SFR didn’t want Canal Plus to offer a package including the channels to competing telecoms operators.