French pay-TV channel Paris Première, despite having been on air since December 1986, is struggling to stay solvent. Unfortunately it is not alone. A slew of similarly well-established premium pay channels are either about to close or have something of a death sentence hanging over their heads.
Paris Première is now owned by giant commercial network TF1. TF1 has been lobbying extensively for its Paris Première (and news channel LCI) to shift to a free-to-air transmission model, and thus tap into what is seen as a more lucrative advertising-led model. However that route has been denied to the broadcaster by French televisual regulator CSA.
Consequently, and as threatened by TF1 boss Nicholas Tavernost, a number of Paris Première’s sister channels (M6 Music Blacxk, M6 Music Club, Stylia and TF6) will close in January.
Although not related commercially, another batch of pay-channels will also likely close this year. Jimmy, Comédie+, Maison+ will all go, such are the challenges of staying afloat in a market that’s now saturated with channels and viewing choices and where disposable income is increasingly under pressure.
News channel LCI has reportedly now found funding cash and contractual commitments which will keep it on air for at least three years. Paris Première is said to be talking to its distributors, including CanalSat, Orange, Numericable and SFR, and with revenues secured of some €15 million per annum, or about half of its 2012 revenues – and thus simply not enough cash which is why it wanted FTA availability.