France Télévisions backs austerity plan

Pascale Paoli-Lebailly | 04-11-2013

France Télévisions' board of administrators has given the green light to a three-year austerity plan and approved the project to amend its objectives and means contract, the new version of which is due to be signed in the first two weeks of November.

Aiming to adapt the group's strategy to decreasing resources, the new budget and strategic line-up will cover the 2013-2015 period.

The plan, which is already being examined by TV regulator CSA and the French Parliament, forecasts heavy losses over 2013 and 2014 before balance is expected to be regained in 2015.

Compared to the previous 2011 contract, France Télévisions resources are expected to be seriously hit: the French state's €2.5 billion allocation will decrease by €420 million, while ad revenues will fall €390 million over the next three years.

Owing to very poor audience figures in its access prime time slot, France 2, the group's flagship channel, already registered a €11-€12 million fall in ad revenues in September.

Spending cuts will mostly affect sports retransmissions, but also drama and documentary productions in which the group will pour €400 million instead of the €420 million which it invested previously.

Job cuts are also on the agenda as France Télévisions wants to fall below the 10,000 mark and aim for just 9,750 full-time positions in 2015.

France Télévisions explained in a release that the new objectives "maintain the fundamental missions of the public service broadcaster, within a very budget restrained context".