France’s leading pay-TV operator, Canal+, is to launch a free-to-air channel by the end of the year. The move would create a new competitor to major French broadcasters TF1 and M6 at a time when TV advertising is slipping in favour of digital and online ads.
Chief Executive Bertrand Meheut told Le Figaro the channel would have a programming budget of €100 million a year and would focus on movies, series and a few sports events. It will aim at a more niche audience of wealthy professionals as a way to recruit advertisers.
Canal+’s project depends, however, on whether the French government follows through with its plan to award frequencies to the country’s main broadcasters to compensate them for funding last year’s transition to digital from analogue TV.