Pascale Paoli-Lebailly | 29-08-2013
Leading French free DTT news channel BFM TV forecasts continuing growth this year but fears the possible arrival on the free-to-air (FTA) market of pay-TV channel LCI, a TF1 subsidiary.
The channel forecasts €70 million in revenues in 2013, and an expected EBITDA of €14 million, against €10 million in 2012. Its audience share rose in July to 2.2% from 1.9% in June and 1.8% in July. The channel's direct rival, the Canal+ affiliate I>Télé, is far behind, recording 0.9% in July.
According to Alain Weill, CEO of BFM TV, the arrival of a third news channel would shake the market, which he believes is frail. "There is no room for three FTA news channels in France," he stressed at a press conference. "We would pass from one ill person to three dying ones. All the more so as some themes such as economics, history and lifestyle are not very well covered on the free DTT market."
Last month the French National Assembly adopted an amendment allowing the TV regulator CSA to give the green-light for a pay-TV channel to go to free-to-air on DTT.
TF1 with LCI, and M6 with Paris Première, have been asking for this opportunity for some time.
The amendment will be studied by the French Senate in October, and Alain Weill will want to have his say.
In the meantime, the new season of BFM TV is depending upon innovation, employing drones and 4G broadcast transmissions.