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CANAL+ vs TF1: generosity pays for itself

© Unsplash/Dario/Lemon squeezer

Remember the very first confinement in spring 2020. To avoid the spread of Covid-19, Emmanuel Macron was clear in a speech delivered on March 13, 2020: the inhabitants of France must remain cloistered at home. So, for many weeks, the world was at a standstill.

The French could no longer leave their homes and many could no longer work or study. We had to kill time as best we could. Businesses and consumers alike are facing an unprecedented situation, far from banal. Everyone is groping. “To great ills, come great remedies”, as they say.

In this exceptional context, CANAL+ is making an equally exceptional gesture: going unencrypted on all boxes. To put it simply: for a limited time, everyone could enjoy several CANAL+ channels for free, usually encrypted. An extremely charitable gift from the audiovisual group, that’s for sure. But almost four years later, CANAL+ must pay the costs of this generous gesture. The subsidiary of the Vivendi group owes more than a million euros to the TF1 group.

CANAL+ free during confinement: the poisoned gift?

If the French were delighted to be able to enjoy free CANAL+ channels usually encrypted, the competitors were really (really) not happy with this outpouring of generosity. Initially scheduled for April 16 to 15, 2020, the free unencrypted passage of CANAL+ ended on March 31, 2020. The CSA had to get involved… Two short weeks during which viewers were able to enjoy recently released films. Among them, we can cite Avengers: Endgame, Detective Pikachu or All Inclusive. A joy for consumers, an injustice for competitors.

In April 2021, the CANAL+ group is accused of having, in particular, “ competed unfairly with the programs broadcast in parallel on the antennas of the TF1 group”. Almost three years after the CANAL+ group was taken to court, the Court of Cassation has just ruled in favor of the TF1 group.

If the first charge does not was not accepted, justice speaks of “depreciation of the free-to-air broadcasting rights of the private television group”. In total, CANAL+ is ordered to pay nearly 1.6 million euros to TF1… With several hundred thousand euros for “moral harm”.

For the TF1 group, the action of the CANAL+ group violated the famous media chronology. At the same time, this caused the value of broadcasting rights negotiated by the television giant to fall. Because TF1 had negotiated exclusive rights to unencrypted broadcasting of certain films. Finally, everything falls apart. At the time, CANAL+ could offer feature films 8 months after their release in theaters while the channels of the TF1 group had to wait 30 months. Although the media chronology has been updated to 2022, CANAL+ remains at an advantage.

Why would viewers have bothered to discover Avengers& nbsp;: Endgamefrom their sofa more than two and a half years after its cinema release while they had to wait 8 months to (re)see it for free on CANAL+ during confinement ? Obviously, the French took full advantage of this (short) advantage. For two weeks, they abandoned the television channels TF1, TMC and others. A generous gesture therefore, but which ultimately cost the CANAL+ group dearly.

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Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116