Vivendi, FT-Orange’s French face off

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.

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