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France TV chief calls for more coin

Pubcaster under pressure to show more high quality fare

PARIS — France Televisions’ chairman Patrick de Carolis has reiterated his demands for more funds to be made available to the Gallic pubcaster, in the wake of recent government calls for greater creativity from its six channels.

Speaking to French news network BFM in an August 3 interview, de Carolis argued that France Televisions’ ability to comply with new government guidelines will require either an increase in the license fee, or more advertising to be carried on the channels.

License fees have not been increased in France since 2000 and de Carolis noted that the current annual fee of Euros 116 ($160) is considerably lower than the Euros 200 ($276) paid by Blighty’s viewers.

On August 1, French President Nicholas Sarkozy and Prime Minister Francois Fillon sent a mission statement regarding France Televisions to Minister of Culture Christine Albanel.

Sarkozy has called for the broadcaster to “strongly affirm its public service identity” by being “more creative and more daring” and by “marking a greater difference” from its private rivals.

However, both Albanel and Fillon have recently made clear their strong opposition to permitting more advertising breaks on France Televisions’ channels.

The broadcaster has seen the proportion of its revenue gained through advertising fall from around 40% to 30% since changes in legislation in 2000.

During the presidential campaign, Sarkozy had voiced support for allowing France Televisions more advertising air-time, provided more high-quality cultural programming was also offered, especially during peak viewing hours.

The president and prime minister also called for France Televisions to define the identities of all six channels more clearly.

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