Welcome to episode 4 of the second season of the showdown between TF1 and Canal +. This Monday, the subsidiary of Bouygues announced to file a complaint against the group owned by Vincent Bolloré, yet another twist in the saga while drama which opposes the two giants of the French audiovisual industry. How did we get here ? Back to previous episodes.
Episode 1: Canal + disconnects its access to TF1
On September 2, Canal + announces in a press release “to give up broadcasting” of the channels of the TF1 group (TF1, TMC, TFX, TF1 Séries Films and LCI) in metropolitan France. Exit The Voice Kids, seven to eight or Daily for holders of a Canal box, which would be around 3 million. They are now unable to access this panel of channels.
Justifying its decision, Canal+ evokes the request of the front page for “substantial remuneration” to allow it to broadcast its channels, which are free for households that receive satellite television. The Vivendi subsidiary suggests that the disagreement could last, referring to the broadcast of the Football World Cup, the launch of which is scheduled for November 20.
Episode 2: TF1 denounces
The reaction of TF1 is not long in coming. The same day, the group denounced the choice of Canal “to deprive its subscribers of the channels and services that they pay for in their subscription” and called for discussion to avoid further “penalizing” viewers.
A situation leaving viewers with a feeling of déjà vu. In 2018, while they had to conclude their previous broadcasting agreement, the two groups had not managed to find common ground in time. The 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 did not necessarily expect it, but the saga took a political turn the day after the start of hostilities. 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 receiving all DTT channels”.
This has not, for the time being, been enough for holders of a Canal box to be able to access the programs of Europe’s first channel again. Since the decision of the subsidiary of the Vivendi group, the hearings of the JT of France 2 passed in front of TF1 during two consecutive days, whereas the One is generally in head on this niche. The edition led by Thomas Sotto on the public service gathered 4.81 million viewers on Friday and 4.5 million on Saturday, against 4.27 million and 4.2 million respectively for that of Anne-Claire Coudray.
Episode 4: the Bouygues group files a complaint
New about-face on the TF1 side. Denouncing the “fanciful figures” mentioned by Canal concerning the evolution of the amount of broadcasting requested by TF1, Didier Casas, general secretary of the channel, repeated to be “taken hostage by the decision of Canal”, at the microphone Franceinfo. He adds that Canal+ is treated in the same way as all the other broadcasters, hammering home the importance of “not depriving” viewers of the channel despite “complicated” negotiations.
He further assured that the TF1 group would file a complaint against Canal. It remains to be seen whether the next episode will drive the two French media giants even further into tension, or whether it will be one of reconciliation.