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France Televisions cuts film buys

Broadcaster to limit buys on U.S., foreign fare

MADRID — Gallic pubcaster France Televisions aims to curb costs incurred through movie acquisitions, its CEO, Patrick de Carolis, has told Agence France Press (AFP).

The move will affect not only U.S. studio fare but also top foreign indie pics.

Carolis said France Televisions had passed on buying free-to-air French broadcast rights to “Slumdog Millionaire,” saying they were “too expensive.”

The pubcaster is revising its film acquisition policy, he added.

Carolis aims for the state television’s cost cuts — also affecting sports rights and light entertainment — to come into effect from September.

France Televisions’ refusal to duke it out for top film rights forms part of a policy to reduce acquisitions of foreign fare in favor of European and French programming.

Foreign fare will drop to 30% of the pubcaster’s acquisitions budget in 2009, France Televisions announced in late January.

Prior to this change, the ratio was 60-40 in favor of French and European shows.

France Televisions’ policy explanations form one of the most-detailed reactions among European broadcasters to the fiscal crunch.

Having seen its primetime advertising nixed from January in highly polemical givernment reforms, France Televisions is under severe industrial scrutiny to fulfill its public service mandate in France by supporting French TV production.

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