TF1 will not merge LCI with i-Tele

France’s leading commercial broadcaster TF1 will not merge its 24-hour news channel LCI with rival broadcaster i-Tele, according to a report in Le Figaro, quoting CEO Nonce Paolini.

Paolini also said a French government tax imposed on private TV channels to help fund the revenue shortfall resulting from the advertising ban on public channels is estimated to cost TF1 €20m this year. He added that TF1 planned to save €100m between 2008 and 2009 to help fight the economic downturn.

Paoloni also expressed his surprise at the reactions of rival channel M6 to the nomination of Axel Duroux, a member of M6's supervisory board, to the number-two spot at TF1.

M6 is reportedly preparing to take legal action against Duroux for unfair competition and is also considering taking action against TF1.