In this back to school, tension is at its peak within the two largest French television groups. Whether they are in Boulogne (Hauts-de-Seine), in the TF1 tower, or not far away, in the M6, in Neuilly, the teams are refining speeches and arguments before the big oral before the Competition Authority. On Monday 5 September and Tuesday 6 September, Martin Bouygues, for TF1, and Thomas Rabe, the boss of Bertelsmann, owner of the M6 group, will have to convince the members of the college to make them realize the wedding of the century of the French audiovisual, announced on the 17th. May 2021, and that should give life to a group that accounts for over 70% of television advertising sales and 35% of the audience. Better than anyone, they know the game is far from over.
On Friday 2 September, Canal + gave an idea of the level of animosity of its opponents. The subsidiary Vivendi, which will also be subjected to the audition, has cut the transmission of the channels of the TF1 group on its boxes, depriving the front page of 12% to 15% of the audience. Reason given: TF1 would claim to renew its distribution contract, which expired on August 31, with a prohibitive 50% increase. At TF1 we deny this figure and remember having resigned from similar distribution contracts in 2020 with Iliad, Orange or Molotov, many players reluctant to give him gifts. Unless Vivendi’s subsidiary exploits its members to put pressure on the Authority, making them think that TF1 has questionable competitive practices.
Havas, another Vivendi subsidiary, Iliad (whose founder, Xavier Niel, is a shareholder of World individually), the Union of Producers of Streaming Programs (Le Spect) or the Union des Marques, which represents advertisers, will have the opportunity to say all the negative things they think about this marriage. The college will also receive project-friendly France Télévisions, Médiamétrie, Netflix, the Pathé group.
At the end of these hearings, the Authority can merely and simply prohibit the operation, issue injunctions (“Marriage is possible under these conditions”), or open a new discussion on commitments. The final decision will be made within the week of October 15th.
In five years, the time spent in front of the small screen has decreased by about twenty minutes a day, according to Médiamétrie
“If we lose this operation, it will be a collective failure. Because she is useful for everyone. Today 80% of the programs consumed on our channels are national. On US platforms, they are 80% foreignrecalls Nicolas de Tavernost, with well-oiled rhetoric. A lot has happened since we notified the operation. TikTok became the first TV channel in the UK, Amazon acquired the rights to Roland-Garros, Netflix and Disney will begin advertising. It’s mind-boggling. “
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