Vivendi-owned Canal+ has filed a complaint against commercial broadcaster TF1 with the French competition authority, alleging that the latter has abused its dominant position in the country’s TV advertising market, according to local reports.
According to business news service BFM TV, the pay TV channel operator has based its complaint on the fact that TF1 Group’s channels account for close to half the advertising space in the market while attracting about a third of the overall audience, and that TF1 can influence terms under which advertising is sold without worrying about competition.
TF1 accounts for between 45% and 50% of the TV advertising market in France, as well as managing ad sales on behalf of third party channels including Discovery.
Canal+’s complaint comes as TF1 is putting pressure on regulators to allow it to migrate its news channel LCI from a pay service to free-to-air. A strict separation of the ad sales activities of TF1 and its TMC channel is also due to expire at the end of this year.
Canal+ is currently attempting to secure regulatory re-approval for its acquisition of free-to-air channels D8 and D17, formerly known as Direct 8 and Direct Star, after the Conseil d’État decided that its previous commitments offered insufficient guarantees against it holding a dominant position in the distribution of free-to-air rights to French movies.
Nicolas de Tavernost, president of rival commercial broadcaster M6, last year rejected allegations by TF1 CEO Nonce Paolini that his group was undermining TV advertising rates and counter-claimed that TF1 had lowered its own rates.