Iis the French audiovisual landscape on the verge of a nervous breakdown? The quarrels multiply between the private channels and France Télévisions. The first consider that the public service makes them an unfair competition, while the second sends them back to fights of the XXe century (removal of advertising, prohibition of certain genres of programme). However, the threat comes from opposite: on the other side of the Atlantic, Netflix, Disney and Amazon impose themselves on the remote controls and the screens of connected televisions, capture subscribers and come to take shares of the advertising market.
The Parliament, for its part, took over the files of the public audiovisual sector: a senatorial bill creating a holding company overseeing France Télévisions, Radio France, France Médias Monde and the National Audiovisual Institute (INA) has just been ped ; the report of deputies Jean-Jacques Gaultier (Les Républicains, Vosges) and Quentin Bataillon (Renaissance, Loire) goes in the same direction and it should lead to a new bill in the National embly.
The government must not remain paralyzed by the issues, because there is an urgent need to act. The tensions of private groups vis-à-vis the public service are only the beginnings of a crisis of which we have not yet seen all the effects.
“Traditional” television, which still affects nearly nine out of ten French people, is seeing its audience drop (3:13 a.m. on average per day in May 2023 compared to 3:43 a.m. in May 2021, according to Médiamétrie) and aging (those aged 50 and over still watch it more than 5 hours a day, compared to 1h15 for 14-25 year olds).
Uses are changing and national and European groups are slow to make their digital transformation. Blame it on years of procrastination. The projects of French streaming platforms which aborted (mySkreen, liquidated in 2015, Molotov, bought by the American FuboTV in 2021, Salto, closed in March 2023) are collected by the shovel.
Spread French soft power
On this field of ruins, the two main French private audiovisual groups attempted a defensive rapprochement (the TF1-M6 merger), which ended in abandonment, as the Competition Authority has imposed economic constraints on them, emptying the operation of any industrial interest. As for the public service, for lack of a vision carried by its shareholder, it navigates on sight, between the abandonment of the holding company project in July 2020 and the abolition of the contribution to public broadcasting during the finance law voted in fall 2022.
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