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Frédéric Bokobza, Deputy Director General of the Conseil Supérieur de l’Audiovisuel (CSA), the French media regulator, says that next year’s June 2017 review of the Canal Plus formal “competition restrictions and regulations” could be modified to benefit C+.
The CSA has yet to publish its own recommendations, and Bokobza, in discussion with equity analysts at Deutsche Bank, said the four key levels of regulation for the CSA still remain:
(1) At EU level, the Audiovisual Media Services Directive sets a framework which is then transposed into French law
(2) through “decrees”.
(3) Specific “conventions” are set by the CSA on the broadcasters; incl Canal+/Vivendi, TF1 & M6.
(4) These conventions are based on the informal agreements made between stakeholders, principally French TV and film producers and the broadcasters.
However, Bokobza stressed that the CSA’s overall objective is to protect the French language and culture, but also that the market has changed considerably since the 33 restrictions originally set for Canal Plus back in 2005 and renewed in 2012. “Key restrictions here include must-offer on any channels with premium content as well as its VoD service, CanalPlay, to any platform serving >500k users,” says a Deutsche bank report.
Bokobza emphasised restrictions can only be removed and not added to. “He also emphasised the decision was independent of the French elections and any changes could be implemented immediately,” said the bank. “Our view is that the CSA objective of a level playing field points towards potential concessions for C+ which is at a material disadvantage versus new market entrants since 2012, including telcos & Netflix / Amazon. The CSA objective of programming investment also falls heaviest on C+ which is currently responsible for 50-60 per cent of total investment in French TV & film programming with TF1 a remaining 30 per cent. New entrants currently represent <10 per cent of spend.”