TF1 plans all-news net

France’s leading national broadcaster, TF1, has announced plans to launch an all-news network early next year. But instead of partnering with pay-TV net Canal Plus, TF1 now says it will go it alone.

Last January, TF1 president Patrick Le Lay said the network was studying the idea of a news service in partnership with Canal Plus. An agreement between the two webs to carry out a feasibility study expired at the end of June.

Plans are for the news service to be carried on cable and satellite, although a decision on whether to use Astra, Telecom IIA or IIB, or Eutelsat has still to be taken.

Sylvain Gouz, who is heading the project for TF1, said operating costs should be around 120 million francs ($ 21 million), less than half the original sum that was suggested in January.

With little advertising revenue expected from the news net, observers say TF1 sees the channel as the starting point for a future bouquet of satellite-delivered services, possibly including film and music outlets.

At the pay-TV service, insiders Wednesday were not ruling out the idea of launching their own news channel, possibly in conjunction with pubcaster France 3, which has a well-established network of local news correspondents.

That would mean France would find itself in the unique European position of having access to CNN, Euronews and two national news operations.

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