Canal Plus calls for tax halt

Canal Plus CEO Bertrand Meheut has called for a moratorium on the French government’s plan to tax commercial channels to compensate public broadcaster France Télévisions for the loss of advertising on its channels.

Meheut told Le Figaro the tax should be put on hold until the end of 2011, when advertising on the public channels, currently banned after 20.00hrs, is due to end completely, coinciding with the completion of France’s digital switchover plan.

Meheut said that the proposed 1.5 per cent of revenues tax on TF1 and M6, and 3 per cent on Canal Plus, was unacceptable in view of the global decline of the TV advertising market. He said the move would accelerate the decline in investment in content creation, and pointed to the fact that France Télévisions had so far only lost E215 million as a result of the ban, well short of the E415 million calculated by the government.