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France’s Conseil d’État – its highest administrative jurisdiction – has confirmed TF1’s pay-TV news channel LCI switch to FTA on the country’s DTT platform, rejecting an initial appeal launched by competitor NextRadioTV group.
The owner of DTT news channel BFM TV hoped the December 2015 decision of French TV regulator the Conseil supérieur de l’audiovisuel (CSA) granting the possibility of LCI becoming a FTA channel might immediately be suspended. BFM TV anticipates the arrival of LCI on the DTT network will directly impact its audiences and ad revenues, and would lead to a 50 percent fall of BFM TV’s net result.
LCI is set to launch on April 5th when French DTT transitions to MPEG-4, but NextRadioTV’s appeal is not yet closed. The Conseil d’État still has to deliver its verdict on the legal aspects of the CSA’s rule next autumn.
In its initial judgement, the Conseil d’État considers LCI’s DTT switch “isn’t necessarily irreversible” and, should LCI’s authorisation be annulled, it would have to return to the pay-TV model.