French public broadcaster face disruption

Pascale Paoli-Lebailly | 02-10-2012

French public broadcasters’ programming schedules are certain to be hit as the strikes called by unions to protest against budget cuts planned for 2013 go ahead.

The upshot is that France 2, France 3, radio stations France Info, France Inter as well as other public radios won’t be able to run their regular programming.

In its budget plan for 2013, the French government announced that public audiovisual revenues will be cut by 1.6% on average to €3.733 billion. The breakdown shows France Télévisions will receive between 3–4% less than in 2012 at €2.243 billion. Others networks such as Arte and INA will also have their allocation cut back but within a 0.3-0.5 % proportion.

The budget plan also forecasts the licence fee will be raised from €123 to €129.

The fear is high among France Télévisions’s work teams is that budget cuts, increased by lower ad revenues estimated to a €60 million loss, lead to more job cuts. The 2011-2015 contract of objectives and means signed between French State and France Télévisions already plans for a 5% decrease in employment rate within the group.

This contract that also sets up FTV’s mission of public service is called to be amended so as to define the biggest priorities to achieve.

Interviewed on Monday by press agency AFP, French minister of Culture Aurélie Filipetti commented that France Télévisions must “reposition and stop the race to audience shares” on the back of other commercial channels.

“At a time of the multiplication of screens and connected TV, difference will come from quality. I’m sure that’s what our fellow citizens are expecting from their public networks, she added.