Welcome to episode 4 of the second season of the showdown between TF1 and Canal +. On Monday, the Bouygues branch announced that it was filing a complaint against Vincent Bolloré’s group, yet another twist in the theatrical saga that opposes the two giants of the French audiovisual industry. How did we get here? Go back to previous episodes.
Episode 1: Canal + disconnects its access to TF1
On 2 September Canal + announced in a press release “to discontinue broadcasting” of the TF1 group channels (TF1, TMC, TFX, TF1 Séries Films and LCI) in metropolitan France. Exit The boys of the voice, from seven to eight or Daily for Canal box owners, which would be around 3 million. I am not able to access this channel panel now.
Justifying its decision, Canal + evokes the front page request for a “substantial remuneration” to allow it to broadcast its channels, free for families who receive satellite television. Subsidiary Vivendi suggests that the disagreement could last, referring to the broadcast of the soccer World Cup, whose launch is scheduled for November 20.
Episode 2: TF1 denunciation
The reaction of TF1 is not long in coming. On the same day, the group denounced Canal’s choice “to deprive its subscribers of the channels and services they pay by subscription” and called for discussion to avoid further “penalizing” viewers.
A situation that leaves the audience with a feeling of déjà vu. In 2018, as they had to finalize their previous broadcast deal, the two groups failed to find common ground in time. TF1 channels were then cut off for Canal + subscribers for ten days, before finding common ground.
Episode 3: the Minister of Culture gets involved
We weren’t necessarily expecting that, but the saga took a political turn the day after hostilities began. In a letter sent on September 2 to the president of Canal + and made public by The Parisianthe Minister of Culture, Rima Abdul Malak, asks not to “deprive hundreds of thousands of homes of reception of all DTT channels”.
For the moment, this was not enough for the owners of a Canal box to be able to access the programs of the first European channel again. Following the decision of the Vivendi group subsidiary, the France 2 JT hearings have gone ahead of TF1 for two consecutive days, while One is generally leading in this niche. Thomas Sotto’s public service edition drew 4.81 million viewers on Friday and 4.5 million on Saturday, compared with Anne-Claire Coudray’s 4.27 million and 4.2 million respectively.
Episode 4: the Bouygues group files a complaint
New turnaround on the TF1 side. Denouncing the “imaginative figures” cited by Canal on the evolution of the transmission volume requested by TF1, Didier Casas, secretary general of the channel, reiterated that he had been “taken hostage by Canal’s decision”, to the Franceinfo microphone. He adds that Canal + is treated in the same way as all other broadcasters, underlining the importance of “not depriving” viewers of the channel despite the “complicated” negotiations.
He also assured that the TF1 group would file a complaint against Canal. It remains to be seen whether the next episode will bring the two French media giants even more tense, or whether it will be that of reconciliation.