France: ad downturn wreaking havoc

French network M6 has decided to postpone the launch of its new 8pm news bulletin to September 7. The French private channel, whose investment in this programme would amount €5 million, said this decision is led by the current economic situation.

According to reports, ad revenues linked to this news edition would not have meet the network’s forecasts. M6 prefers remaining cautious in the light of the January and February results. Over the first two months of 2009, ad revenues decreased 9%.

Last week, TF1 group also announced record ad revenue losses. France’s leading private network reported total revenue of €2,595 million, down 5.3 % in 2008. This includes a 4.1 % fall in advertising revenues, with a 6.1% peak reduction in Q4. That was the worst advertising result since 2001.

TF1 CEO Nonce Paolini has already announced a €60M cost reduction plan, that includes drastic cuts in programming costs.