Jean-Pierre Elkabbach, prexy of French pubcaster France 2/3, has called on the government to stump up 1.2 billion francs ($ 200 million) in emergency funding. This follows an audit of France 2 and France 3 that showed the webs are broke.
Elkabbach took over the pubcasters in December when outgoing president Herve Bourges announced he would not seek a second term.
Bourges had predicted that the pubcasters would lose around $ 36 million in 1994, largely due to overoptimistic ad revenue targets set by the government. Now Elkabbach’s team is saying the losses will be between $ 80 million and $ 100 million.
Estimates are that France 2 urgently needs $ 86 million to recapitalize and that the pubcasters require a further $ 103 million to invest in new program production, film financing and a range of diversification projects.
Elkabbach’s demand underlines a structural weakness in French public television. Traditionally, a change of government leads to a change of president for public television, and outgoing management tends to overspend budgets for the coming year.