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French bonus channels ‘contrary to EU law’

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  • rbonchev
    Board Senior Member
    • Jul 2011
    • 291

    French bonus channels ‘contrary to EU law’

    The European Commission is expected to report to France that the bonus channels, awarded in 2007 to TF1, M6 and Canal+ are illegal according to European law.
    At the end of 2010 the European Commission issued a formal notice to the French government concerning the bonus DTT channels given to ‘the historical analogue broadcasters’ after the analogue TV switchover in November 2011.

    The three private broadcasters were given additional DTT channels to compensate them for the premature end of their analogue TV licences. In particular for the loss of audience and therefore revenue caused by the emergence of competing channels on DTT.
    However, in October 2008, newcomers NextradioTV, NRJ Group and AB filed a competition complaint with the EC.
    According to Brussels, this allocation seems contrary to European legislation, which provides that “the licensing should be based on objective criteria, non-discriminatory and proportionate.”
    The President of French media regulator CSA, Michel Boyon, said in mid-September that “if the bonus channels are considered incompatible with EU law, the legislature will be required to repeal the law without delay.”
    Meanwhile, the private broadcasters have recently been on a buying spree acquiring smaller channels on the digital terrestrial network. TF1 acquired TMC and NT1 in January 2010, while Canal+ recently bought two channels from the Bolloré group, Direct 8 Direct and Star. The small private broadcasters have also protested against this transaction.