France Telecom’s new CEO Stephane Richard has unveiled a new five-year action plan, called Conquêtes 2015 (conquests 2015), in which the Group will turn to its core business, networks, and will reduce its involvement in the television content business.
Under former CEO Didier Lombard and through its Orange brand name, France Telecom has heavily invested in acquiring exclusive content for its premium pay-TV channels. These were intended to boost subscriptions to the IPTV service from Orange as well as its own DTH platform.
The plan is to find partners for its pay-TV business with the company willing to sell up to 50% in the ventures. Richard also said he does not intend to bid for the French football Ligue rights, when they come up for renewal in 2012. “Only with partners”, he said. Orange paid around €203 million per season for the current rights.
Instead, Richard plans to invest in new fibre-optic networks, the next generation LTE mobile networks as well as expand in Africa and the Middle East, which the company sees as growth areas. As part of tyhe action plan, some 10,000 new employees will be hired.
The company currently has a wide bouquet of premium channels: Orange Sport, Orange Cinemax, Orange Cinehappy, Orange Cinechoc, Orange Cinenovo , Orange Cinegeants Orange Sport Info, Orange Sport HD and Orange Cinemax HD. Exclusive content on these channels includes games from the French football Ligue as well as movie and TV series deals with Warner Bros, MGM and HBO Originals TV series and specials.