France wants to restrict exclusive TV deals

The French competition authority has found that exclusive distribution agreements for pay TV content via triple play services should be restricted as they harm competition among ISPs and restrict consumer choice.

The authority, whose advice was sought by the ministry of the economy, recommended that legislation be drafted to allow exclusive deals only for one or two years, when justified by innovation and investment. The authority described the model used by Orange as one of double exclusivity, in content distribution and access, whereby customers must subscribe to the pay TV offer as well as the triple-play access.

An acceptable solution to the authority is if a the exclusive owner of a channel makes it available on as many platforms as possible. It also called for the wholesale TV market to be regulated in the longer term, to open the market, notably in the areas of sports and films. This would require Orange and Canal Plus to share content with other platforms at an agreed price.

The guidance is similar to that from Ofcom in the UK which has recently advised the price at which Sky sells its rights to other platforms should be regulated.

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