Orange is already preparing for the showdown with Altice, considering – even before the negotiations – a cut of the channels of the group. Indeed, the operator has no intention of paying for their distribution.
Since August 27th, holders of Freebox can no longer watch the free channels of the Altice group in Internet reception (BFMTV, RMC Discovery and RMC Story). At issue, a commercial dispute: Iliad (Free) does not want to pay the broadcast fees required by Altice.
This problem could also arise quickly for Orange subscribers. Indeed, on France 2 (via Le Figaro), Stéphane Richard said today that a signal cutoff of these channels is "Conceivable" on the Liveboxes, if no agreement is found on the compensation of Altice.
"Our position is aligned with that of Free, we consider that there is currently a balance between channel publishers and operators: we transport their channels for free and ensure a hearing, without asking for remuneration in return", estimated the boss of Orange. And the latter to recall that the broadcast agreement signed earlier with TF1 and M6 does not relate to the broadcast of the channels themselves, but on related services (catch-up television, live replay, stream quality, bonus around programs, etc.). Services that, for the time being, do not exist at Altice.
"The question is not the amount of the check, we will pay if there is an additional service provided to the consumer, not in the opposite case"he adds. As at Free, we imagine at Orange that BFMTV can become a paying option. Nevertheless, it is prejudging the negotiations that will take place between Altice and Orange, their current agreements taking until September and their term has even been postponed.
Already an impact on audiences?
In these negotiations, both parties will be able to rely on the impact that the cut of BFMTV, RMC Découverte and RMC Story has on Free on the audiences of these channels. For the moment, according to the figures published on Twitter by NPA Conseil, in day 1 after this cut the audience shares of RMC Découverte and RMC Story were down by 34.7% and 12.5%. In day 2, RMC Discovery rebounded slightly, but RMC Story dug its losses. Of course, these audience analyzes of TV are not to be seen under the sole prism of cutting these channels on the Freebox. The overall audience of the television, the quality of the programs and those offered by the competing channels must also be taken into account.
First effect of suspending broadcast channels #Altice on the #Freebox : -34.7% PDA from one week to the next for #RMCDecouverte ; -12.5% for #RMCStory
Hearings #BFMTV At 11 o'clock pic.twitter.com/sURkQd2ofj
– NPA Conseil (@npaconseil) August 28, 2019