France rolling out mobile TV by end of '08

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PARIS -- The small screen is getting even smaller in Gaul as French film and television supervisory board the CSA announced the launch of mobile TV across the country before the end of 2008.

French mobile TV, aka Television Mobile Personnelle, will consist of 16 channels, three public and the rest private. All of the TMP channels will be available to consumers via the nation's new -- and ratings-friendly -- digital terrestrial television platform.

The CSA is inviting all of the country's private networks to apply for the coveted 13 remaining spots by Jan. 15 for an April selection and is asking for "generalist and thematic" programs, with DTT channels given priority.

The CSA consulted industry execs earlier this year including mobile phone operators, broadcasters, technology and hardware companies and trade unions, but opinions differ as to how the new service should be carried out.

TF1 and France Televisions want consumers to pay a minimum fee for the service while other DTT news and music channels believe that the TMP should be free and ad revenue-based in order to reel in more viewers.

The TMP service will cost national broadcasters such as TF1 and France Televisions 4 million euros ($5.87 million).
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