TPS keeps TV rights to French terrestrial nets

Canal Plus challenging EC's extension

PARIS — Television Par Satellite, France’s No. 2 pay TV group, celebrated victory over bigger rival CanalSatellite on Monday as the European Commission decided to accord it another two years of exclusive rights to broadcast Gallic nationwide terrestrial channels on its digital platform.

When it was set up three years ago, TPS, whose owners include private and public broadcasters, was to have held the exclusive rights for 10 years.

Rights reach

But with a broadcasting bill in the works calling for digital TV to reach a maximum number of French households, Canal Plus had been hoping to crack TPS’ monopoly and to air pubcasters France 2 and France 3 on CanalSatellite starting in mid-2000.

In a terse statement Monday, Canal Plus said it was “astounded” by the EC’s “unjustified and disproportionate” decision, which it considered to be “contrary to the development of the digital market and to the interests of the consumer.”

Appeal planned

A Canal Plus spokesman said the company would challenge the decision.

CanalSatellite has 1.3 million subscribers, TPS has 800,000.

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