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French TV boss gets govt. ‘support’

France Televisions agrees film deal

PARIS — French culture and communications minister Christine Albanel has said that Patrick de Carolis, chairman of national pubcaster France Televisions “has my full support.” Media speculation has mounted in recent days that the broadcasting head will not remain in his position much longer.

Debate about De Carolis’ future has intensified since the Dec. 18 appointment of Francois Guilbeau as director general of France 2 — the country’s second-most watched terrestrial network. The five government members of France Television’s board of directors abstained from voting on Guilbeau’s nomination.

Interviewed by national daily Liberation, Albanel attributed their non-action to lack of prior consultation on the part of France Televisions with the government, rather than to any inherent opposition to Guilbeau.

De Carolis has been increasingly outspoken in recent months on the pubcaster’s need for more revenue, either through a boost in licensing fees, or from state permission for more advertising.

Albanel and other senior government officials have consistently rejected both proposals.

The CGT, the largest union represented in France Television’s six channels, issued a statement on Dec. 19 calling the government’s refusal to vote in favor of Guilbeau “part of a politically orchestrated campaign designed to destabilize the public group.”

While the French press has asked if De Carolis is on his way out at France Televisions, the pubcaster holding company, owner of France 2 and France 3 TV channels, has inked a new deal with French industry associations, upping its commitment to both the transmission of movies and the financing French and European films.

Under the terms of the new, three-year agreement, running 2008-10, France Televisions channels will air 420 films a year, up from 360.

France Televisions also will earmark 3.3% of its annual sales to invest in French or European film production. The commitment rises to 3.4% in 2009 and 3.5% in 2010.

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