French networks protest new TV tax

Private channels ask for moratorium on levy

MADRID — France’s private broadcast networks have teamed to protest a new tax on their revenues aimed at part-financing Gallic pubcaster France Televisions’ loss of primetime advertising.

In a joint letter to French prime minister Francois Fillon, free-to-air webs TF1 and M6 and paybox Canal Plus call the tax “unfounded and inopportune” at a time when TV ads revs look set to fall 15% in Gaul this month, according to press reports.

The private channels are asking for a moratorium on the tax until the recession plays out.

Both TF1 and M6 have seen their bottom lines ravaged by a plunge in TV ads, and have hardly benefited from the Gallic government’s decision to nix primetime advertising on France Televisions from January. 

A study by ad research company Yacast Media, published in February, reported a 5.3% drop in ad revs at M6 and a 17.6% plunge at TF1 in January. 

Ad agencies appear to be channeling the ad spend that formerly went to France Televisions towards the fast-growing digital terrestrial networks, targeting their more moneyed auds.

In January, Gallic DTT nets enjoyed a year-on-year 85.4% rise in ad revs, TNS estimated.

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