French TV payout prompts protest

France Televisions will receive $623 million

Gaul’s commercial broadcasters’ org has hit out at the government’s proposed allocation of E450 million ($623 million) to pubcaster France Televisions in the 2009 budget.

The Assn. of Private Broadcasters (ACP) calls the handout, intended to compensate the pubcaster when a ban on advertising after 8 p.m. begins Jan. 5, too generous. It believes the amount should not be more than $346.25 million.

The figure “does not reflect the real commercial performance of France Televisions … or of the state of the advertising market in 2008,” the ACP said in a statement.

The ACP was founded in May by Gaul’s biggest private nets, TF1 and M6, and paybox Canal Plus as a lobbying group for all private TV companies.

The ACP also said the state-appointed commission that recommended the compensation had “lacked transparent analysis and had been contradictory.”

Sweeping legislation on advertising restrictions and future state funding for public service broadcasting — as well as programming content, the appointment of France Televisions’ president and related issues — is expected before the end of the year.

The bill was submitted to the government’s executive advisory body, the Council of State, and to broadcasting regulator the Conseil Superieur de l’Audiovisuel on Oct. 1. The National Assembly will consider the bill mid-November.