French broadcaster BFM TV has won its case over unfair competition against the Canal+ Group before the Court of Commerce of Nanterre. Canal said it would appeal the decision.
Alain Weill, president of NextRadioTV, owner of business news channel BFM TV, started legal proceedings against the Canal+ Group. Weill claimed Canal was trying to manipulate the audience in favour of the i-Tele news channel by having CanalSat receivers automatically tune to its own news channel. (See Broadband TV News passim)
Canal claimed the action was a regular marketing exercise and as such was just a case of cross-promotion. The judge in Nanterre did not agree and ordered Canal to stop the practice within 24 hours, after which a fine of €10,000 would be payable for each hour the deadline was passed.
The judge also ordered an investigation by an independent expert to study the impact of the operation conducted by Canal., who will report within three months.
Weill was naturally pleased with the verdict, but Canal will appeal. According to BFM TV, the latest audience figures from Mediametrie indeed show that the audience of i-Tele among CanalSat subscribers was indeed significantly up because of the Canal technical campaign.