MADRID — Broadband Internet TV has overtaken cable TV in France, according to audience measurement company Mediametrie.
In its latest MediaCabSat Gallic pay TV report, which includes IPTV data for the first time, Mediametrie estimates French ADSL TV viewers at 8.5 million for June 15.
Cable TV viewership dropped from 6.1 million Feb. 17 to 6 million June 15.
Stats do not include sub-cable feeds with fewer than 10-12 channels.
Results underscore France’s status as Europe’s most vibrant Internet TV market, energized by deep-pocketed aggressive IPTV operators such as France Telecom-Orange, Free and SFR-Neuf Cegetel.
“ADSL TV is free for broadband subscribers, and it will continue to grow. Cable will most probably stagnate,” said Francois Godard, an analyst at London-based Enders Analysis.
Mediametrie’s report also highlights the continued erosion of broadcasters market share, even in a multi-channel universe. TF1 took a 23.4% share Jan. 1-June 15, down from 25.3% first half 2007. France 2 dropped from 13.5% to 13.3%, France 3 from 9.6% to 9.1%. Only M6 managed to claw back share, rising from 8.5% to 8.8%.
“The decrease of the share of historical broadcasters is not only a result of the launch of cable, satellite and Internet TV. It’s happening within the multi-channel universe as well,” Godard said.
Gaul’s share-challenged broadcasters can take some small comfort from two trends.
Fragmentation is beginning to hurt some of the original fragmenters: Weekly viewership at a clutch of star pay TV channels is leveling off or even declining as more pay TV rivals with a similar focus launch.
Eurosport has held out another four months as France’s premier niche pay TV channel, but weekly viewers stood at 6.7 million, down on February’s 6.8 million and way down on 7.5 million a year ago.
And, in another recent report, “TV in the World: Continuity and Rupture,” Mediametrie claims that France is the major Euro territory “where established channels are holding on best to share.” New channels since 2000 have 17.5% share, as compared with 36.5% in the U.K.