Tasca renews TV bonds, reaffirms prod’n support

France's new culture minister enjoys Mip TV reunion

CANNES — There was a hint of triumph in the way that, with much cheek-kissing and friendly banter, France’s new culture minister Catherine Tasca renewed her acquaintance with old friends in the French broadcasting world at Mip TV on Monday.

It had been exactly nine years since Tasca last toured these halls, opening Mip TV as France’s communications minister, a post she held from 1988 to 1991. And Tasca, who took over the job of culture minister from Catherine Trautmann two weeks ago, appeared to savor every minute of her comeback.

She sailed from stand to stand, flanked by Xavier Roy, chief exec of Mip organizer Reed Midem Organization, and Jean Pierre Hoss, head of France’s ministry of film, followed by a pack of French journalists and photographers.

“So nice to see you again,” she said to one of the French TV execs, dropping the formal “vous” form for “you” in favor of the more familiar “tu.”

The major television players she shook hands and swapped news with included TF1’s Etienne Mougeotte, pubcaster France 2’s Marc Tessier, Canal Plus’ Alain de Greef and private network M6’s Jean Druker.

One onlooker pointed out, “The faces are the same ones she saw here 10 years ago — only their jobs have changed.” After inaugurating a new extension to the Palais des Festivals in which CBS and others were fervently doing business Monday, Tasca gave a press conference on aspects of French broadcasting policy.

Promising that France’s cash-starved audiovisual production sector could count on her support, Tasca hinted that broadcasters would be called upon to play their part as well. Her comments gave rise to speculation that some of the strictures that apply to France’s terrestrial channels — such as a quota system requiring 40% of programming be French-produced — might be extended to other broadcasters in France.

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