APRIL 17, 2002
More trouble in the pay-TV world
In 1999, however, Canal Plus was bought by Vivendi Universal, a water company which was in the process of transforming itself into a media business under the management of Jean-Marie Messier. Soon after the sale, Canal Plus opened negotiations to reduce the payments to F1 as in three years it had managed to build an audience of only 15,000 subscribers and decided not to continue sending staff to races, the commentary from then on being done in Paris.
As part of a renegotiation of the deal Canal Plus gave up the rights to South America is exchange for a 20% reduction in payments and an assurance that there would be more onboard cameras reserved for pay-TV. The company has continued to make losses and this week Messier took the radical step of firing Pierre Lescure, the boss of Canal Plus. Messier is believed to have given the new management a two-year deadline to make money although Lescure's supporters in France are now trying to unseat Messier.