Bird exec de Posch flies coup

TPS' Bony upped upon exit of founding director

PARIS — Satcaster TPS has upped Philippe Bony to deputy managing director in charge of programming and services following the departure of one of its founding execs, Guillaume de Posch.

Bony is well known to film industryites in France and the U.S. through his previous job as managing director of TPS Cinema. He was closely involved in a flurry of recent deals between TPS and Hollywood majors including Warner Bros.

De Posch, who had been with TPS since its creation in 1996, is leaving France to take up a key appointment with another media group, company sources said.

The satellite platform owned by Gallic broadcasters TF1 and M6 is headed by chairman and chief executive Emmanuel Florent.

Bony’s appointment was announced Wednesday at TPS’ fall news conference in Paris, where the platform also announced it has slashed the price of its cheapest subscription package to e11 ($12) in the continuing war with Canal Plus Group’s market-leading Canal Satellite.

“For the price of 10 liters of gas you get a month of TPS Star (the platform’s premium channel). This is total democratization (of digital television),” topper Florent boasted.

“Our ambition is to be the market leader,” the exec told journalists, adding that TPS was expecting the low-price package to increase its rate of subscription by 20%-25%. The $12 subscribers will receive a three-month free trial to TPS’ entire array of programs and services in the hope that they opt for a more costly package.

At its fall news conference on Monday, Canal Satellite said it would have 2.7 million subscribers by the end of this year, including hotels and other collective subscribers as well as those in France’s overseas territories. TPS has 1.2 domestic subscribers in France.

Florent said the platform posted a profit of $10 million for the first half of 2003 but would end the year with losses of some $15 million. He predicted the 7-year-old platform would break even for the first time in 2004.