Vivendi chief confirms plans for Italian joint venture

French media group Vivendi has confirmed plans to form an Italian pay-television platform in association with its Telecom Italia (TIM) and Groupe Canal subsidiaries.

Vivendi chief executive Arnaud de Puyfontaine, who also serves as executive chairman of TIM, said the project will move forward this month with the initiative to be considered by the TIM control and risk committee and then submitted to the board.

News of such a project first emerged last month when French newspaper Les Echos said the platform would be branded Canale + and be modelled on the existing French broadcaster, offering a mix of sports and entertainment programming.

De Puyfontaine said TIM Vision had already invested in different types of content, and indicated that the planned joint venture with Groupe Canal ties in with that strategy. “Convergence is happening (internationally)…between content and distribution, and it makes perfect sense for TIM to participate in this shift,” he said, according to the Digital TV Europe website.

The Variety newspaper said the plan is for a joint production and acquisition company, in which Groupe Canal would be the minority partner, with launch set for a few weeks’ time.

Such a platform would compete head-on with the pay-television unit of Italian broadcaster Mediaset entitled Mediaset Premium.