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Ecclestone's digital deal with Canal Plus

BERNIE ECCLESTONE has just announced a vast new TV deal for Formula 1 racing - with the French Canal Plus satellite TV station. Canal Plus will broadcast FOCA's new "Supersignal" on a pay-per-view basis in over 70 countries. The deal, which is for 10 years, is believed to be worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

Canal Plus will concentrate on the European market - although it does not have the rights for Germany, Italy and Britain - but will also beam programs into South America.

The "Supersignal" - which goes live for the first time next weekend in Hockenheim - features five different TV feeds from FOCA, including a main feed, an incident analysis channel, in-car footage, pitlane footage and data.

The deal means that current satellite broadcaster Eurosport has been dumped.

Ecclestone already has a satellite deal in Germany with the DSF channel and is negotiating in England with RupertÊMurdoch's Sky Television.

Canal Plus was linked recently to the purchase of Flavio Briatore's shares in Ligier. It has widespread holdings in other European TV networks but is privately owned with 40% of its shares held by individuals, 23% by the Havas publishing group and 20% by water company Generale des Eaux.

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