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Tessier calls for digital TV plan

Pubcasters facing upheaval

PARIS — Marc Tessier, president of publicly owned France Television, on Wednesday urged the French government to speed up its preparations for terrestrial digital TV.

“Right now terrestrial digital TV still has no legal status,” Tessier said in an interview with the French economic daily Les Echos. “The law must define a legal framework for it. I’m calling for there to be no delays. There is still time for the first services to be launched before the end of 2001.”

Pubcasters are due to face further upheaval from a reform package that goes before the French parliament in the new year.

France Television is the holding company that oversees France 2 and France 3, but the bill proposes to regroup those two plus La Cinquieme and Arte under a modernized “super holding” company. It will also reduce ad time on pubcasters, which could mean as much as $166 million in lost revenue per year.

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