Consolidation creates new rule book

Territory report: France

Times are a-changin’ in the French TV biz — a fact that distributors at Mipcom this year won’t fail to notice.

Canal Plus’ takeover of rival pay TV platform TPS, the unexpectedly high rate of DTT take-up in France — some 4 million households have set-top boxes — and a new regime making its mark on pubcaster France Televisions are all among factors likely to affect the way business is done on the Croisette this go-round.

The pay TV consolidation will lead to a single operator in France boasting some 9.5 million subscribers — a matter of no small interest to the studios selling product to Canal Plus.

As a condition of the merger, Gallic regulatory authorities have capped the duration of Canal Plus Group’s future output deals at three years.

“Fortunately, most of our deals were re-signed fairly recently, so this isn’t going to concern us for a while,” says Olivier Courson, Canal Plus Group general counsel.

Meanwhile, execs are poised to find out the small print in TPS’ deals with the likes of Disney and Warner Bros. What hasn’t changed is the paybox’s taste for upmarket, edgy U.S. TV shows, which take pride of place on its flagship channel.

Sandra Ouaiss, head of series acquisitions, says: “We’ve shown that we can pick the shows that work with our audience, like ’24’ or ‘Desperate Housewives,’ and now it’s a matter of confirming that strategy in our new acquisitions.”

“Weeds,” which began airing in September, and “Big Love” are recent purchases.

U.S. fare’s popularity continues to grow in Gaul on free-to-air TV, too, with commercial web TF1 recently shelving its Sunday night primetime movie slot to air “CSI: Miami” head-to-head against “Without a Trace.”

“U.S. series are in great shape creatively,” says Laurent Storch, TF1’s head of acquisitions, “which is why we’ve renewed our output deals.”  

TOP 3 SHOWS

  1. “RIS,” TF1

  2. “Joseph,” TF1

  3. “Maldonne,” TF1
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