French digital satellite platform TPS, a rival to Canal Plus' CanalSatellite operation, has unveiled plans to provide Internet access and other digital services through television sets before the end of the year.
TPS - which has 880,000 subscribers compared to CanalSatellites' 1.5 million - plans to offer e-mail services, called TV-mail, which enable viewers to send and receive messages between TV sets, computers and telephones. The move is seen as a response to Canal Plus' plans to introduce Internet-compatible set-top decoders (Screendaily March 9).
TPS, which is backed by French free-TV broadcasters TF1, France Television and M6, has already started to sign a raft of Internet-related deals, including a partnership with Cyber Press Publishing, the publisher of film monthly Cine Live. The magazine will be responsible for all film-related information on TPS' interactive channel Info Express from May 2000.