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Discovery to reopen French office

Nicolas Bonard eyes co-production opportunities

PARIS — Discovery Networks has tapped Nicolas Bonard as managing director of Discovery Channel France to strengthen the company’s position in the Gallic market.

Bonard will re-open the Paris office, connect with commercial partners and kick off co-productions with local TV players and filmmakers.

The office closed three years ago following a dispute with cable operator Numericable, which hosted Discovery Channel France and Discovery Real Time. The channels were removed from Numericable and Real Time was discontinued. Discovery Channel France remained on satellite platform CanalSat.

Discovery expressed its intention to ramp up biz in Gaul in March when it took a 20% stake in French pay TV operator Televista. It runs Vivolta, a channel specializing in femme lifestyle programming.

Bonard will become a non-exec member of Televista’s administrative board and continue as managing director of Discovery Enterprises Intl.

He will report to Dee Forbes, prexy and managing director, Discovery Networks Western Europe, and John Honeycutt, joint-topper of Discovery Networks Intl.

“France is a fundamental market for Discovery, and we are delighted to appoint Nicolas to this new role and contribute to pursuing our development in this major region,” said Forbes.

Bonard said the move was part of Discovery’s strategy to expand into the free-to-air market in Western Europe.

Last November, Discovery bought U.K. production shingle Betty, and in January, it launched Discovery Max, a free-to-air channel in Spain.

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