Now Mediapro sues Canal Plus over failed carriage deal
Mediapro, the Spanish media rights and production agency, has commenced legal proceedings against Canal Plus, claiming the French pay-television broadcaster is trying to oust it from the domestic soccer media market.
Mediapro is presently going through a conciliation process with the LFP, the French professional soccer league, after it failed to make a second instalment payment of €172 million ($205 million) due on 5 October as part of its €814 million annual outlay for the four-year rights deal that came into effect for this campaign.
The company is eager to renegotiate the terms for the first year because of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, and is unlikely to make its next payment due on 5 December.
That dispute is being played out at the Commercial Court in Nanterre, the same court where Mediapro last week filed a claim against Canal Plus, accusing it of “abuse of a dominant position” and “abusive and unfair practices,” according to reports in France.
Mediapro's case revolves around the failed attempts to reach agreement over the carriage of Téléfoot, its new channel for domestic soccer, on Canal Plus.
Canal Plus remains the sole company without a distribution deal in place for Téléfoot, with Mediapro France having sealed agreements with telecoms quartet Orange, Free, Bouygues Telecom and Altice's SFR. In addition, deals are also in place with the likes of Apple and Samsung TV.
Indeed, back in September Canal Plus initiated legal proceedings against Mediapro, claiming the firm was seeking to impose unfair conditions on any deal.
In a statement at the time, Canal Plus said: "Taking note of the conditions imposed on it by the Mediapro Group for the distribution of the Telefoot channel, the Canal+ Group is forced to refer the matter to the court to put an end to the inequality of treatment to which it is subject and to obtain fair and non-discriminatory recovery.
"The conditions precedent to any negotiations imposed by the Mediapro Group on the Canal + Group are similar to impossible conditions, are unrealistic in current market conditions and aim to exclude the Canal + Group from the distribution of the particularly attractive football offer of Telefoot."
Canal Plus customers have been able to watch two Ligue 1 games per matchday this season, at 9pm on Saturday and 5pm on Sunday, after the broadcaster sub-licensed the rights from pay-TV rival BeIN Sports.