TF1 Loses Market Share to Digital Channels, Mediametrie Says

By Rudy Ruitenberg

Dec. 30 -- Societe Television Francaise 1, France’s largest commercial TV company, lost market share to new digital channels in 2008, market researcher Mediametrie said in an end-of-year report published yesterday.

The broadcaster’s flagship TF1 channel attracted an average 27.2 percent share of the French national audience aged four years and older throughout the year, compared with 30.7 percent in 2007, according to the report.

France introduced digital terrestrial television in 2005, offering eight new free channels in addition to the existing six nationwide broadcasters. The combined market share of the national channels fell to 76.3 percent from 82.5 percent, while the other free-to-air stations lifted their share to 11.1 percent from 5.9 percent, according to Mediametrie.

The share of France 2, the public channel operated by France Televisions, dropped to 17.5 percent from 18.1 percent. The M6 channel of commercial broadcaster M6-Metropole Television slipped to 11 percent from 11.5 percent in 2007.