The Americans are coming, and will be bringing the Paramount+ streaming service to French viewers later this year as part of a long-term partnership with Vivendi’s Canal+ Group.
The Canadians, though, are planning to leave France, with Canadian investment management company Brookfield putting its 45 percent of TDF up for sale. It’s valued at $5 billion (U.S.). TDF (formerly Télédiffusion de France) provides radio and television transmission services, services for telecommunications operators, and other multimedia services.
Then French-Israeli billionaire Patrick Drahi’s Altice Group is planning to buy Azul TV, a Nice-based local television station from Franco-Lebanese magnate Iskandar Safa. Drahi also has control of France’s news channel BFM-TV.
To be added to this list is Germany-based RTL Group’s M6 French TV network, which is set to merge with the leading French TV network TF1, owned by the Bouygues Group and controlled by Martin Bouygues. RTL Group is owned by Bertelsmann, and controlled by the Reinhard Mohn family.
According to terms of the deal, Bouygues will hold onto 30 percent of the combined company and RTL Group will have 16 percent. The merge will follow the acquisition of an 11 percent stake by Bouygues from RTL for 641 million euro (U.S. $688 million).
Officially, the merger is to “provide a French response to the challenges from global platforms.” Group Bouygues would have exclusive control over the merged company, acting in concert with RTL Group as a strategic shareholder.
Meanwhile, Vivendi (controlled by French billionaire Vincent Bolloré) will exit Italian television by drastically cutting its stake in Italian broadcaster Mediaset, thus ending years of legal disputes. Now, Vivendi is eyeing entering the U.S. market not only with Paramount+, but also with a bid for a minority stake in the premium TV channel Starz, owned by Lionsgate.
According to an official statement from the company, Paramount+ on Canal+ will be “the home of Showtime in France,” and will feature Paramount Pictures’ films, Para-mount+ originals, Nickelodeon, MTV, and CBS Studios content. Canal+ has about 8.9 million subscribers in France, reaching a total of over 21 million people internationally.
Finally, the French govern-ment is looking to merge all public service media, which includes France Télévisions, Radio France, France Monde, and Institut National de l’Audio-visuel (INA), and to combine regional media outlets France 3 and France Bleu.
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