Monday, December 13, 2004

TV-over-DSL adding heat to content pricing?

It's interesting to see Vivendi Universal's Canal Plus satellite business shelling out an almost unbelievable EUR1.8bn for three years' exclusive rights to French first division soccer. Though the strategy elements underlying the bidding probably have more to do with the satellite market in the short term, France Telecom was also a rival in bidding for one package of rights, and Canal Plus' arch rival TPS (the other key bidder), is France Telecom's content partner in the Ma Ligne TV-over-DSL product. While still in its infancy, I would speculate that the TV-over-DSL issue was a scary enough proposition on a long-term view for Vivendi to bid over the odds to deprive the new platform of some key anchor content, which would have given it strong momentum.

UPDATE: I love the interactivity of the blog, but sometimes this unfortunately includes admitting I have published blatant or partial inaccuracies. An on-the-ball French reader rightly points out that in terms of the Ma Ligne service offering itself, Canal Plus is also a content partner. My reference was to the original launch of Ma Ligne, wherein TPS was identified as the content partner of choice. The subsequent Canal Plus relationship notwithstanding, given FT's adversarial relationship with Vivendi Universal units in the mobile, broadband and fixed telephony markets in France, I still believe Vivendi was seeking to limit collateral damage and ensure that if premium content was to traverse Ma Ligne, it should be on Vivendi's terms, if at all possible.

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