PARIS — With major network viewership flatlining in France, nontraditional TV is picking up the slack.
Cable, satellite, digital terrestrial and regional stations represented 16.1% of total viewers in the first half of 2007, a 2.8% jump over the previous year. Among the traditional broadcast networks, only France 3 saw an increase.
While Gaul was remarkably late in rolling out DTT compared with much of Europe, the service, known nationally as TNT, is now available in more than 5 million homes, with 70% national coverage. Four major players are battling for two upcoming HD TNT channel spots set to launch in early 2008.
One of the bidders, commercial broadcaster M6, saw a 37.2% overall revenue jump and a 64% jump in ad revenue from January to April. The only Gallic channel to see aud share up in early evening slots, M6 owes much of its recent good fortune to the performance of its four TNT networks, three of which are pay TV channels.
“TNT has enabled a jump in our communications tariffs and ad revenues,” says Maylis Carcabal, outgoing director of marketing, programming and communications at TMC. “It’s increased our technical costs, but it’s a major boon for our channel.”
France is the continental leader in the booming European video-on-demand market, with seven operators offering a 23% increase in film and TV series titles from November 2006 to March 2007. Sandra Ouaiss, director for fiction acquisition at Canal Plus, thinks VOD will become increasingly tied to the networks in France.
“Everyone seems concentrated on their own series and is anxious to try for exclusivity,” Ouaiss says. “In the future, I think you won’t be able to find an M6 flagship series through Orange sites, for example, but exclusively through M6’s own.”
Referring to Canal Plus’ Canal Play service, Ouaiss notes that “downloads are going very well and showing great promise, but are hardly huge in revenue terms for the moment.”
Autumn will see two new series imports for Canal Plus: HBO’s “Big Love” and the TNT miniseries “The Company.”
1. Les Aventuriers de Koh-Lanta (TF1)
2. Cold Case (France 2)
3. Louis La Brocante (France 3)