President Hollande plans new TV reforms

Pascale Paoli-Lebailly ©RapidTVNews | 09-05-2012

Newly elected French President, François Hollande looks set to take advantage of his tenure to unravel some controversial TV reforms launched by former President Sarkozy.

Likely first for reform is the emblematic nomination of PSB radio, TV and head of media groups by the president himself, und the control of Parliament and TV regulator CSA.

This power, which has traditionally attracted criticism, affects directly groups such as France Télévisions, Radio France, INA and Audiovisuel extérieur de la France.

The Parti Socialiste (PS) political party for which Hollande was the presidential candidate, wants to hand back to the CSA its nomination power. Such a symbolic decision is expected to be taken very rapidly and could put into question the current tenures of people such as Rémy Pflimlin (FTV), Alain de Pouzilhac (AEF) or Jean-Luc Hess (Radio France).

Another unilateral decision taken by Nicolas Sarkozy was PSB prime-time ad ban. The PS also intends to redefine the basic mission and financing of France Télévisions. The young adults’ DTT channel France 4, whose positioning has been questioned by Hollande’s party, is said to be on its way to the tumbrils as the PS reportedly wants to reposition it as a true public broadcast channel. To achieve this goal, France Télévisions will need to renegotiate with Lagardère Group, its partner regarding DTT kids and family channel Gulli. Lagardère holds the majority shares of the channel.

Another channel which is due for scrutiny is France 3 whose audience share has retreated to 9.1 % and which has been suffering from a very blurred positioning, torn between national and regional programming. François Hollande has already validated a project leading towards the development of complete regional TV channels, in association with local operators.

Regarding FTV’s financing, the PS doesn’t rule out maintaining daytime ad slots, whereas under the current law, they are expected to disappear in 2016. Such objective is said to be economically unrealistic as French State would have then to find €400 million to compensate the revenue loss.

The TV licence fee is also planned to be extended to secondary homes.

Another reform not well understood is that of AEF, the news channel France 24, radio stations RFI, Monte-Carlo Doualyia and part of TV5Monde.