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France: TF1 wants IPTV carriage fees

French commercial media group TF1 has threatened to withdraw from the platforms of some French IPTV operators. Régis Ravanas, head of advertising and diversification at TF1, said the group is looking to raise its revenues by making IPTV operators like Free, Orange and SFR pay to carry its DTT channels (TF1, TMC and NT1).  If no agreement can be reached, TF1 could pull its content from the platforms.

“In Belgium, our feed is paid for by Orange and Altice,” Ravanas remarked, adding TF1 is determined to obtain a better share of value in exchange for its premium offering. Talks have been ongoing but operators aren’t welcoming the idea of paying to host the channels. Orange said in a statement that it “doesn’t plan to pay for distributing a Free DTT channel, but is working with TF1 to  create new additional and value-creating services for the profit of both groups.”

Last year, TF1 posted revenues of just over €2 billion, up 2.9 per cent. Operating profit plunged from €141.2 million in 2015 to €41.7 million.  Broadcasting revenues fell significantly by €66.2 million, but digital activities saw strong growth. MYTF1 attracted 10.7m users on its IPTV boxes for its catch-up TV offering, while the platform as a whole saw 1.3 million free-to-view videos watched across the year, leading to a rise in advertising revenues. TF1 expects its profit margin to reach double figures by 2019.

TF1 Group’s new multi-screen strategy, courtesy of new CEO Gilles Pélisson, is based on the development of its thematic channels and production activity, along with expansion outside of France.

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