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French regulator mulls pay TV rules

Operators may have to forego exclusivity

BRUSSELS — Greater regulation of Internet pay TV in France is in the cards following a ruling on exclusive content by national competition authority Conseil de la Concurrence.

The authority voiced strong disapproval of deals that tie content to one Internet platform, raising doubts about the model of France Telecom’s Orange Sport and Orange Cinema Series channels, which are available only to people who sign up for its triple-play package of phone, TV and Internet.

The council suggests exclusive distribution of broadband providers’ TV channels for just one or two years.

Orange said it would change its economic model in light of the ruling. But it added that serious questions have now arisen about how the costs of acquiring rights could be covered, particularly for soccer.

The competition council’s ruling has no legal force, but it will be taken seriously by the government, which asked for its opinion on the matter at the beginning of the year.

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