TV future may have Orange hue

BusinessWeek has a fairly glowing story on France Telecom's Orange, the company's IPTV moves and plans, and the unit's orange tie-and-socks-clad CEO and would-be media mogul Didier Lombard. The story suggests big U.S. telcos might have something to learn from the practices of Orange, one of which was to lock up telecast rights for France's Ligue 1 soccer matches, similar to a move that Rupert Murdoch made in the U.K. not long ago.

However, the European TV service provider market exists on another level from that of the still-nascent U.S. market, and, even in Europe, such exclusive programming deals have been criticized by some as anti-competitive. Meanwhile, though Orange's TV customer base in France has grown 69 percent within the last year to 2.2 million, the real TV powerhouse in France remains Vivendi's Canal Plus, which offers satellite-based cable TV programming to 5 million French households and is pushing into Internet TV. That dominance means Orange still has to offer Canal Plus channels, while offering its own programming at a discount.

For more:
- BusinessWeek has this story

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