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Bundling Strategies Bring Turmoil To French TV Football

by David Mercer | 3月 24, 2009

The battle between French media and communications powerhouses Orange (France Telecom) and Vivendi is boiling up nicely, and French viewers are about to see the results on their TV screens. From today, Orange has stopped selling its Orange Sport TV channel to new subscribers, following a court ruling. Orange Sport broadcasts live French football matches on Saturdays. Existing subscribers will continue to receive Orange Sport for the moment, although the channel’s future depends on further court rulings. Football fans can still get other live matches by paying for Canal Plus (owned by Vivendi). The two firms split the current 12 Ligue 1 football rights packages between them – Canal Plus paid €460m a year for nine packages, and Orange paid just under €200m for the remaining three. The football authorities are concerned that Orange will stop offering football altogether, drastically reducing the game’s income. At the heart of the dispute is bundling of media and communications services. Orange, which operates both fixed broadband as well as mobile networks across many countries, is offering its Orange Sport channel only to customers who also take its ADSL broadband service. Competing broadband service providers Free and SFR have lodged complaints that Orange is competing unfairly and should offer its football rights on a wholesale basis to competitors. It would take a brave soul to predict how the French authorities will eventually rule on this case. As we have seen in other disputes (notably Sky/Virgin in the UK) these things can drag on for months, and blank TV screens look like an increasingly realistic prospect. Twitter: twitter.com/DavidMercer_SA Client Reading: Broadband Satisfaction and Customer Churn: France Survey Results 2H'08 Add to Technorati Favorites submit to reddit
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