Pubcaster France 2 sees auds dip

Problems lies in afternoon programming

PARIS — Pubcaster France Television faces falling auds as France 2’s figures slumped 1.6% compared with the same period in 2000.

“We have real failures in afternoon programming on France 2,” prexy Marc Tessier told daily Le Monde on Thursday.

Its 1 p.m. news program, which has lost 2% in audience share since October, is being revamped and new TV drama “Rastignac ou les Ambitieux,” billed as “different” and “audacious,” managed to attract only 4 million viewers for the first episode, despite critical acclaim.

A spokesman for the pubcaster said viewers dislike change, and altering programs in the afternoon slot, popular with an elderly, conservative audience, is particularly difficult.

A working group was set up last week to discuss changes needed to bring up the ratings, especially on afternoon programming.

Tessier stressed that France 2’s drop in audience figures was the same or less significant than those of other channels.

Adding to the pubcaster’s troubles, the CFDT union has called for a strike at audiovisual service companies in a bid for more secure working conditions.

The financial picture for France 2 is less bleak, however. Channel registered profits for 2000 of $1 million, positive for the first time in several years.

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