Messier urges Euro pic solidarity vs. U.S.

CEO sez EU fragmentation allows American media dominance

PARIS — Vivendi’s Jean Marie-Messier launched a battle cry against U.S. studios Monday, urging Europe’s TV networks to unite against attempts to get them to overbid for film broadcasting rights.

Reflecting a new European zeitgeist symbolized by the recent rise to prominence of pan-European media conglomerates, Messier, head of the group that holds 49% of Canal Plus, told the French daily Le Figaro:

“Tomorrow, the American studios will be outright winners by playing us off against each other. Is that normal? No. Must we respond to that? Yes. Is that response French? Certainly not. It is European.”

“I am sure that in the years to come we will see European alliances which, depending on the reaction from Brussels, may or may not permit (us) to compete with the dominant American industry,” he said.

Messier went on: “For me, competition is about stopping a dominant actor from imposing his prices on the rest. For as long as our vision of the European media world remains fragmented, country by country, we’ll have a media industry dominated by America.”

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