De Carolis calls for public TV accord

France Televisions chief looks for partners

PARIS — Patrick de Carolis, president of France Televisions, has called for greater co-operation between state broadcasters around the world in developing joint projects.

Speaking in the southern city of Arles at the opening of the annual Public Broadcasters International Forum, de Carolis stressed the difficulties being faced by pubcasters around the world, due to the global economic slowdown and more intense competition from private sector players.

“If we want the power in our own countries to defend our unique qualities in a difficult and increasingly constrained economic environment — and face competitors who can engage in what amounts to economic warfare — we must learn to work together and develop common projects,” he said.

De Carolis specifically played up the advantages of pursuing more international co-production and procurement agreements in sports broadcasting, saying such deals could “help us to stay competitive while being faced with the destructive inflation in the (costs of sports broadcasting) rights.”

Referring to the challenge that the five-channel France Televisions group will be facing when advertising restrictions begin in January, de Carolis said the French public networks would soon be encountering a “complete revolution in our economic model. And as you well understand, we will have to take charge of this model in the midst of an international financial crisis.”

The French government plans to see all advertising on France Televisions end after 8 p.m. as of Jan. 5, with a total ban in effect by the end of 2011.

Sweeping new legislation covering such restrictions — as well as the appointment of the head of France Televisions and many related issues — is expected before the end of the year.