France: mobile TV model conflict

French media companies, including Lagardere, Bollore, NRJ, and BFM, want to offer free mobile TV channels, while MNOs plan to charge a monthly subscription of E5 to E15, reports Les Echos.

Under the broadcasters’ plans, at least some mobile TV channels will be free to air. Using the same model as for DTT, customers would buy equipment that would later allow them to watch channels in unlimited mode, free of charge. Manufacturer Sony is pushing for the freeview model. Most broadcasters want a system with both free and pay channels.

Bollore said it wants a “large proportion” of mobile TV channels to be free. France Televisions “favours a free model in principle”, Sony wants it to be predominant. Bouygues Telecom, a sister company of broadcaster TF1, is staunchly in the pay TV camp. Orange warns that anything other than pay mobile TV would jeopardise investment. French media regulator CSA is due to launch a tender in October. The body said that the majority of respondents to a consultation want at least a part pay system.

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