CSA awards mobile TV licences

French regulator CSA has awarded DVB-H mobile TV broadcast licences to thirteen private channels. There are two new entrants, France Telecom's Orange Sports and film director Luc Besson's EuropaCorp TV. The other eleven are BFM TV, Canal Plus, Direct 8, Eurosport, I-Tele, M6, NRJ 12, NT1, TF1, Virgin 17 and W9. CSA has also reserved three channels for public broadcasters France 2, France 3 and Arte.

The regulator had received 36 mobile TV licence applications. CSA head Michel Boyon said that if spectrum is freed up by the analogue switch-off, the body would issue a tender for around fifteen more mobile TV channels in 2009.

CSA advisor Elisabeth Flury-Herard explained that the eleven existing channels were chosen for their popularity, as they represent 48 per cent of the national audience and between 72 and 75 per cent of the private TV audience. She added that up to one-third of the content of the mobile version of existing channels could be different. Only two pay mobile TV channels were selected, Eurosport, which will charge E1 per month, and Canal Plus, which will charge E25 to non-subscribers to its regular pay TV service and E15 to subscribers.

Canal Plus aims to reach break-even in three years with 500,000 mobile TV subscribers. All of the other channels will feature in the basic mobile TV package which will be paid for by mobile phone subscriptions or included in the cost of pocket TVs themselves.

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