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New French TVs crucial week - 06-January-2009, 02:00

French TVs crucial week

Pascale Paoli Lebailly, on 05-01-2009

The French TV market will know today and over the next week whether viewers are changing their habits in consuming TV or not. Yesterday (Monday) was the first evening for the public service broadcasting partial ad ban, and prime-time programmes started at 8:35pm instead of 8:50pm on all public networks.

Before Arte and M6 started their own programmes at 8:45pm, France Tlvisions had between ten and fifteen minutes to make the difference. France 2 was broadcasting a discovery programme that sends a celebrity to meet tribes from a remote country, while France 3 offered the junior version of popular game Questions Pour un Champion produced by Fremantle Media.

For the time being, TF1 and Canal+ have decided to keep their initial 8:50pm schedules, betting that French viewers prefer programmes to start later.

The law has not been voted yet, as the Senate will examine the project as of January 7, but France Tlvisions Board of directors decided in December to implement the advertising ban from Monday anyway, between 8pm and 6am.

But this crucial day was a day of strike on France 3 where schedules were quite disturbed. And a call to strike has been launched on France 2 for tomorrow, Wednesday.

The reform, for which France Tlvisions will be granted 450 million compensation in 2009, also worries creators and producers who fear a kind of standardization of programming. They point out a decrease, between 20 and 30%, in commissioning new programmes of fiction and docs, although that point is contested by France Tlvisions.

According to producers associations, the situation could even have serious impact on small indie companies in 2009.
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