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By | November 29, 2000

      TF6, the 24 hour general entertainment channel for under 50s formed when French terrestrial channels TF1 and M6 merged their projects last September, is to launch on December 18. The TPS digital satellite platform will have the exclusive satellite carriage and it will also be on the digital portion of most cable networks, reaching a total of nearly 1.5 million homes.

      The channel will feature films, shows, magazines and music, bringing it into a head on challenge to channels like RTL9, reportedly the most popular general interest cab-sat channel, and even to some extent with its parent channels.

      The annual budget will be FFr 150 million (E22.87 million), 75 per cent of which will be used for programme purchasing. All programming will be in French (audio or dubbed) with a policy of few repeats.

      While Canal Satellite technology enables viewer selection of transmitted language, this feature is not enabled on the TPS platform.

      The channel is operated as a joint venture between TF1 and M6, to which M6 has contributed its Series Club channel, “one of the very rare thematic channels to be showing a profit,” according to Nicolas de Tavernost, head of M6.

      TF6 had also been offered to the Canal Satellite Numerique platform under identical conditions but the latter preferred to “wait and see”. So TPS has the exclusive satellite carriage. In the meantime there have been unconfirmed reports that Canal Satellite will carry RTL9 from January.

      Break even is planned for within three to five years.

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