Canal Plus is facing competition on the home front after it emerged that France Telecom’s Orange was preparing to launch a rival DTH platform. French daily Les Echos reported an announcement would be made in the next few weeks.
The initial target group would be the base of 7 million Orange broadband subscribers, a significant proportion of which are unable to receive its IPTV service. Orange, the former MaLigne, has been a key driver of Canal’s premium channels in the metropolitan areas where the installation of a satellite dish is often prohibitive.
Orange is believed to have made a bid for primetime rights to top-flight French football, again in competition with Canal, though the France Telecom company has declined to say which packages it is bidding for.
As a long term client of Eutelsat, the Hotbird neighbourhood would be the most likely home for the new service, effectively replacing the TPS platform that merged with Canal and has chosen the Astra satellite going forward. A third platform already exists in the form of AB Sat’s entry level Bis.