French feud over digital

Proposal causes fracas between webs

The French government today will examine a bill that outlines plans to switch from analog to digital terrestrial TV by 2011.

The legislation is causing a fracas between dominant analog webs TF1, M6 and Canal Plus, on the one hand, and new DTT entrants, such as AB Groupe, Bollore, NextRadioTV and NRJ Group, on the other.

Bill gives the old guard an extra DTT channel when they cease analog broadcasts, in hopes of enticing them to make the switch sooner. The newbies see the plan as another way for the three webs to solidify their already dominant position.

Audiovisual watchdog the Conseil Superieur de l’Audiovisual voiced concern on July 11, saying, “It could weaken the economic situation of the new entrants.”

Orgs repping authors, directors and producers applauded the move Tuesday, saying the extra channel “will allow room for the principal editors to play a positive role” in the transition.

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