M6 turns 25 and looks for new DTT channels

Pascale Paoli-Lebailly ©RapidTVNews | 07-03-2012

Independent French channel M6, a subsidiary from RTL Group, has turned 25 and is a little bit more than the "little climbing channel" it used to be.
In 2011, Nicolas de Tavernost’s channel became the third national broadcaster in France, passing France 3 as it raised its audience share to 10.8% on the 4+ demographic. In the same year it also claimed to be the only national channel to grow in audience, compared to TF1 or France Télévisions.
M6 attributes it's success comes to key programming such as movies (Le Petit Nicolas), dating, cooking and talent formats (L’Amour est dans le pré, Top Chef, La France a un incroyable talent), as well as news, sport and fiction. Daily access to short fiction in Scènes de Ménage, about married life, scores historic ratings in the 8pm slot, with 5.5 million viewers.
In the months to come, M6, which aims to reach four to five million viewers in prime-time from the current 3.9 million, will have to face new challenges. Among them is Canal+ Group's arrival on free DTT, if the acquisition of DTT channels Direct 8 and Direct Star is given green light.
The French TV regulator CSA is currently hearing the candidates for the six HD DTT channels that will be launched at the end of this year.
Already owning free DTT channel W9 and non-profitable pay DTT channel TF6, M6 has presented the first of the three projects it will pitch.
Called Hexa, the channel will be dedicated to documentaries and magazines, debates and social fiction. 50% of its budget will go to documentaries and magazines. Despite the fact M6’s CEO indicated all new DTT channels will go through hard times to become profitable, his group is also presenting two other projects: a tele-shopping one called Boutique & Co and family project 6TER