Remaking face of French TV

French Communications Minister Alain Carignon could define the shape of French television for the next 18 years if he manages to push new TV legislation through the National Assembly.

Carignon, who is currently preparing changes to the 1986 Television Bill, revealed Monday that he intends to include a clause that would allow current network controllers in the private sector to renew their licenses for five or six years.

Owners will be given the chance to renew three times.

Of the three private webs in France, pay-TV Canal Plus’ operating contract expires in 1995, while TF1 and M6’s contracts end in 1997. Carignon said that providing none of the nets has failed to meet the obligations defined in the operating contracts, those contracts will be renewed.

Carignon’s plan to allow a shareholder to take a maximum 49% stake in a web, instead of the current 25%, will contribute to a sense of security at the various TV headquarters.

“The days when you were never sure who would be around tomorrow are over,” noted one Paris media analyst. “The companies are increasingly thinking long-term and Carignon’s plan to automatically renew their licenses will mean that the networks will be able to take decisions without worrying whether they will be running the show in the future.”

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