Crisis TF1 - Canal +: justice does not force the encrypted channel to restore satellite broadcasting

Crisis TF1 – Canal +: justice does not force the encrypted channel to restore satellite broadcasting

Another disappointment for TF1. After the failure of the merger with M 6 on Friday, September 16, justice dismissed the audiovisual group on Thursday of its request for the emergency restoration of the signal of its channels on TNT Sat, a satellite service operated by Canal +. The subsidiary of the Bouygues group, on the other hand, is ordered to pay 18,000 euros to Canal + in respect of the lawyer’s fees incurred following its summons in summary proceedings, at the beginning of September.

TNT Sat enables nearly 2 million households living in white areas, particularly mountainous ones, to access television via satellite. They have been deprived of the TF1 channels (TF1, TMC, TFX, TF1 Séries Films, LCI) for almost three weeks and the decision of Canal + to cut off their signal to all its customers, including satellite. Unlike the overwhelming majority of subscribers to the encrypted channel, TNT Sat customers have few alternatives for accessing headline programs otherwise.

The Vivendi subsidiary justifies this radical decision by the failure of negotiations for a new distribution agreement with Gilles Pélisson’s group, accusing the latter of having demanded too high a remuneration to continue broadcasting its programs. The previous contract having expired on August 31, Canal + dropped a black screen on September 2.

No “imminent danger” for TF1

During the summary hearing on September 13, the TF1 group denounced through the voice of its lawyers a “brutal rupture of the commercial relationship” on the part of Canal +. According to the Bouygues subsidiary, the distribution of its channels via TNT Sat would come under a “universal service” distinct from the other offers of Maxime Saada’s group. La Une had asked for his recovery for “four months”, the time to find a global agreement with his competitor.

Canal + had considered on the contrary that the law did not create any obligation for it to distribute TF1 channels, even via TNT Sat, this file relating only to contractual relations. The previous contract uniting it to TF1 having ended on August 31, Canal + had indicated that there had been no “brutal termination of the commercial relationship” on its part, nor “imminent danger” for TF1. because of this cut. And therefore no precautionary measure to be taken.

Arguments to which the Paris Commercial Court agreed on Thursday, considering that TNT Sat was inseparable from the rest of Canal +’s pay offers. The previous contract having come to an end, “the commercial relations between the parties were not established” at the time of the cut. Justice also considers that TF1 does not provide “any figure or study or document which would make it possible to establish or assess imminent damage of which it would be the victim”.

Viewers without a solution to watch the front page

In a press release this Thursday, the TF1 group announces that it “regrets” this decision of the Paris Commercial Court, which it will appeal. It is now the Paris Court of Appeal which will have to decide the dispute, still in summary proceedings. In the best case, Gilles Pélisson’s group can hope for a new decision within one to three weeks.

In the meantime, private viewers of TF1 channels will have to take their troubles patiently. Unless the two groups finally agree on a new distribution contract. “TF1 remains open to discussions with a view to finding a balanced agreement quickly,” said Gilles Pélisson’s group on Thursday.

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