Canal Plus COO Denis Olivennes has lashed back at TF1 chairman Patrick Le Lay over his accusation that Canal Plus is monopolising pay-TV rights in the French market (Screendaily March 20).

Le Lay's concerns were connected to digital platform TPS, which is part-owned by TF1 and currently lobbying for the creation of a second pay-TV window for titles pre-bought or acquired by Canal Plus.

In a lengthy Q&A published by French daily Liberation, Olivennes stated: "TPS does not give a damn about French cinema. Who can still believe a tall tale of the poor little TPS crushed by the big bad bully Canal Plus' TPS is backed by direct and indirect shareholders representing a combined worth of FFr1000bn on the financial markets."

According to Olivennes, TPS is refusing to sign an agreement outlining its commitment to financing and broadcasting French films because it is seeking to keep its exclusive rights to carry France's main free TV channels. Canal Plus has already signed the agreement.

The war of words comes in the run-up to the adoption of a new broadcasting law in France. French members of parliament are examining the controversial bill, which is expected to include legislation covering digital terrestrial broadcasting among other issues, today.