Orange deal makes rivals see red

Duo appeal to French TV regulator

PARIS — Two telcos have complained to the French TV watchdog about Rewind TV, a video-on-demand venture between their chief rival Orange and pubcaster France Televisions.

Neuf Cegetel and Free sent letters of protest to regulator Le Conseil Superieur de l’Audiovisuel, France Televisions and culture minister Christine Albanel about the exclusive partnership, which was agreed earlier this month.

The pact gives Orange customers access to a wide assortment of programs, including current affairs, dramas and documentaries, for up to 30 days after their first transmissions.

Neuf Cegetel president Jacques Veyrat stated in the letter that “if it were to be officially confirmed, this partnership would represent a serious blow to the mission statement of France Televisions, particularly with regard to their obligations to the public.”

Maxime Lombardini, Free’s newly appointed director general, recently declared the non-tender agreement to be “scandalous.”

The six channel France Televisions network represents 65% of French terrestrial TV broadcasts.

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