Prime Minister ends French PSB ad dispute

Pascale Paoli-Lebailly | 27-08-2012

French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault has ended the dispute between his two opposing Ministers of Budget and Culture regarding the prime time ad ban on public service broadcast (PSB) channels.

The news comes on the back of an announcement on 23 August that a return of advertising on public channels was not to be excluded, which was followed the next day by a statement assuring that advertising will not come back at all.

Jean-Marc Ayrault then put an end to the governmental discord, consensually saying “the question of reintroducing advertising into public screens is not top of the agenda.” Yet this doesn’t mean at all it will never happen and even if this arbitration settles the governmental dispute, it doesn’t solve the financial questions regarding PSB facing France Télévision.

The PSB primetime ad ban is said to be costing €450–500 million and if the two compensating taxes set up by former government on telcos and private broadcasters are cancelled by the EC, other sources of revenues will have to be found. For the time being, the legal conflict between France and the EC has not yet been resolved and will not before the end of the year.