French networks slow to focus on HD

CSA issues licenses to TF1, M6

France’s broadcasting authority the CSA has issued HD digital terrestrial television licenses to private networks TF1 and M6 plus pubcasters France 2 and Arte.

The ten-year renewable licenses require HD broadcasts to begin by Oct. 30 at the latest.

TF1 and M6 have committed to airing at least 80% of their content in HD by the end of 2012.

As part of a major initiative towards fuller HD broadcasting in France, the CSA has also recently invited pay TV operators to put forward proposals for premium HD DTT.

While the CSA had hoped for three candidates, so far only Canal Plus has filed an application.

In January, CSA president Michel Boyon expressed the hope that eight HD DTT channels would be available in selected regions of France by the end of 2008.

On Sunday, Daniel Bilalian, France Televisions’ director of sports programming, announced that HD transmissions would not be available for this summer’s Olympic Games on any of the pubcaster’s channels.

Bilalian blamed “current uncertainty in public service financing” for the decision.

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