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TF1 offers conditions on LCI status

France’s media regulator Conseil supérieur de l’audiovisuel (CSA) has published a letter from TF1 to the CSA regarding the possible change of status of its news channel LCI, and its proposal to turn the service from a pay channel to a free-to-air broadcasting model.

In the letter, TF1 suggests several commitments it would undertake if LCI were to switch to FTA, among these:
– not coupling TF1 channel and LCI advertising for at least 2 years
– not promoting LCI programmes on TF1 channel for at least 2 years

Additionally, TF1 proposes that several programming commitments such as having 80 per cent of LCI programmes dedicated to information/news programmes but the share of live news bulletins should not exceed 30 per cent of air time.

This letter follows a report published by the CSA last week regarding the impact the change of status of TF1’s LCI and M6’s Paris Premiere from pay channel to FTA could have on the overall French TV market, and advertising in particular.

Investment bankers Exane/BNP-Paribas, in a note to clients on December 1st, say that they find “a bit more” in favour of a change of status than before.

“This letter demonstrates TF1’s high determination to get LCI become FTA although this would mean some reinvestments rather than losses trimmed (in our main case the channel was shut down) generating potentially a significant negative impact on 2016-17 consensus estimates given already low profitability,” adds the bank.

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