The European Commission has launched an investigation into the awarding of ‘bonus’ channels to three private broadcasters in France, TF1, M6 and Canal+ after analogue switch-off.
The French daily newsletter Satellifax broke the news about the Commission’s action against France, which was later confirmed by a spokesperson for the Commission: “There was a letter of formal notice on this issue.”
After this letter the French authorities have a period of two months to respond and try to convince Brussels of its point of view.
The French media regulator CSA has awarded a ‘bonus’ channel to each of the three ‘historical’ broadcasters, TF1, M6 and Canal+ to be taken into service after the complete analogue switch-off in November 2011. This seems contrary to European legislation which “provides that the licensing should be based on objective criteria, non-discriminatory and proportionate.”
In the regulator’s line of thought, the three private broadcasters have to face more competitors in the digital environment than in the analogue setting. In other words: they are to be compensated for the relatively cozy situation of the analogue world. However, the three broadcasters have already received other benefits, including an extension of their licence. The Commission seems to be of the opinion that the broadcasters are over-compensated with the three extra channels.