APRIL 12, 1999
Bernie settles the TV bill
BERNIE ECCLESTONE has agreed to pay the Formula 1 teams the money they had been expecting from television revenues this year, despite the fact that he has yet to get the outstanding $75m from France's Canal Plus. The French pay-per-view operation - which runs a digital service called Canal Satellite - has been rather disappointing and they recently informed Ecclestone that they did not wish to pay the figures agreed because his five-channel digital TV show has not attracted enough viewers. Ecclestone argued that the pay-per-view channels were not doing a good enough marketing job and he cannot be blamed for that.
Bernie is, however, in a difficult situation because he is facing criticism from the networks which broadcast F1 free on air. Companies such a Britain's ITV, France's TF1 and Germany's RTL argue that Ecclestone is favoring the pay-per-view broadcasters, allowing the digital services better access and exclusive cameras which are not available to them.
Ecclestone's decision to give the teams the money they were expecting suggests that he has reached a compromise solution with Canal Plus.