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French pay TV giant Canal Plus is negotiating to take a 10% stake in German consortium Media Service, according to reports in the Paris press.

The consortium, which is being put together by the Deutsche Bundespost Telekom and is already backed by the massive Bertelsmann and Kirch groups, aims to manage the commercialization of pay TV and telephone services on German cable.

Canal Plus execs were not available for comment Tuesday.

At stake is control of the lucrative decoder market for Germany’s 13 million cable households. Media Service intends to choose a decoding system, ally itself with a decoder manufacturer and manage subscriptions.

In the long term, the new consortium hopes that new TV services that develop along with digital broadcasting will use the jointly developed decoders.

Canal Plus and Bertelsmann are already partners in German pay TV Premiere and recently agreed to work together on developing new TV services related to digital broadcasting.

The French pay TV already has considerable experience in the lucrative sector of subscription and decoder management. France’s 3.5 million subscribers to the web pay a refundable 500 francs ($ 86) deposit for Canal Plus decoders, providing the network with a handy $ 300 million fund to invest.

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