Advanced Television

Mediapro’s Telefoot plays on; reports 600K subs

October 21, 2020

From Pascale Paoli-Lebailly in Paris

Football pay-TV channel Telefoot is to continue in business and is already claiming 600,000 subscribers.

Jaume Roures, CEO of Chinese-Spanish group Mediapro, says he has no intention of exiting the deal it has to cover top flight football in France and has confirmed that conciliation talks with the French football league LFP are taking place. “We need to trust this process, I don’t see why we wouldn’t find out solutions. I went to say Telefoot will go on,” he declared at a Paris press conference.

The last two weeks have seen the relationship worsen between the French league and clubs and the company that owns the majority of the L1 and L2 2020-2024 pay-TV football rights, bought for €800 million.

On October 7th, Roures sought to renegotiate the price downwards, explaining that the contract had been signed two years previously and that “Covid-19 is affecting many aspects of the exploitation of the rights”. Mediapro has not yet paid the second instalment of €172 million to the LFP.

The LFP retaliated by first obtaining authorisation from the Paris Court of Commerce to seize Mediapro’s assets in France. In parallel, it is going to sign up for a €112 million loan to be able to pay out the clubs.

“The call for bids we won two years ago wasn’t overpaid,” declared Roures. “Our project is spreading over four years and we knew it wouldn’t be profitable in year one. We just needed to get things adapted this season but I’m not saying we don’t have the possibility to pay,” he added, while regretting the “noise around this case”. “The condition for the conciliation to be a success is confidentiality,” he asserted.

In terms of Telefoot, which is distributed by operators SFR, Free, Bouygues Telecom Orange and Videofutur, Roures revealed it has 600,000 subscribers, noting that an important share was driven by the joint subscription with Netflix. Mediapro’s target to break even is to reach 3.5 million subscribers.

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