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TF1 fails to stem subsidies

E.U. court dismisses legal challenge

BRUSSELS — Gaul’s dominant private broadcaster, TF1, has lost a legal challenge to the French system of production obligations and subsidies.

The General Court of the European Union announced Monday that it was dismissing the case.

“TF1 has not specifically and precisely demonstrated that its competitive position is substantially affected in relation to its competitors, television service providers and large audiovisual communications groups that are beneficiaries of the measures at issue,” it said.

Public aid to French producers, channeled through government agency CNC, is partially funded by a tax on broadcasters’ revenue.

Webs are also obliged to invest a percentage of revenue in film and other audiovisual production, the bulk of which must go to independent producers.

As the biggest private broadcaster, TF1 pays out most under the system, but sees public webs and other competitors benefiting.

System was approved by regulators at the European Commission in 2006. TF1’s case sought to overturn that decision.