The decision by the Autorité de la concurrence reflects recent changes in the French media landscape.
A total of 59 commitments were made in August 2006 when Canal and parent Vivendi first agreed to the merger with former satellite platform TPS. The two were reprimanded in September 2011 when it emerged that not all the commitments had been fulfilled. The following July a new set of 33 measures were put in place for a five-year period.
A common thread of the measures was the protection of the French cinema industry and a restriction on channel exclusivity.
The authority has now taken into account developments such as the emergence of agreements to carry Canal over two leading ISPs, Free and Orange, and the increasingly ambitious strategies of the Altice Group.
The arrival in the French market of Netflix and Amazon has resulted in an easing on the restrictions around the acquisition of US movie rights, but the requirement for output deals with French studios remain, at least for the time being and the authority highlights the importance of Canal’s funding to the French cinema industry.
In thematic channels, the measure to maintain a minimum number of third party channels remains, while in premium the requirement to wholesale the Canal Plus channels also stays. In the event that a premium channel is exclusively taken over by Canal, the Group will be required to enter into a self-distribution agreement with any distributor who requests it.