France’s Orange Sport closed last month after France Télécom declined to bid for a renewal of its four-year licence to broadcast Ligue 1 football. The future of its sister film channel, Orange Cinéma Séries, remains unclear.
The strategic aim for Orange Sport was confused from the start – standalone profit centre or loss leader, fully fledged alternative to Canal+ or add-on to it.
Orange’s premium TV project was a failure: we estimate its cumulative losses at €1.2 billion, while Orange’s broadband market share and retail price premium shrank during the four years of its operation. But it did arguably strengthen Orange’s hand in carriage negotiations with Canal+.