Media giant files complaint for abusive prices
MADRID — Gallic media giant Vivendi filed a complaint Monday with the European Commission against France Telecom Orange, as the cold war between Gaul’s two huge film and TV players heats up.Vivendi accused FT-Orange of charging other telco operators abusive prices for “last-mile” household phone connections. It’s the latest spat between FT-Orange and Vivendi, which owns dominant Gallic paybox Canal Plus. FT-Orange made waves last year launching its own satcaster paybox, Orange Cinema Service. Canal Plus and Vivendi telco SFR complained to France’s competition authorities after FT-Orange required OCS subscribers to take its Internet and fixed telephony. In the past FT-Orange has accused Canal Plus of abusing its dominant position. Ironically, the pair continues doing business together, Canal Plus having agreed in January to become part of FT-Orange’s pay TV and triple-play offer. Commenting on Vivendi’s 2008 results, CFO Philippe Caron admitted Canal Plus will be hard put to meet 2010 targets of e5 billion ($6.35 billion) in sales and 11.5 million subscriptions. Canal Plus added only 50,000 nets subs in 2008. The paybox’s growth expectations depend very much on FT-Orange implementing the two companies’ January accord to promote Canal Plus packages on its IPTV and satellite TV services, said Francois Godard, at Enders Analysis.