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back to article France U-turns on public TV advertising

It might seem a no-brainer for the French government to revive prime time TV advertising on the France Television public channels, after all public finances are under relentless pressure, and the advertising ban was the controversial policy of the last government, brought in by Nicholas Sarkozy in January 2009. But the problem …

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Anonymous Coward

With so many ways to get hold of media especially over the Internet it is not surprising TV advertising has dropped. The budgets are being spread around more.

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Comparison

I have realised that one reason the BBCs Olympic coverage was so good was that it was not interspersed with adverts. This has been a definite spoiler in the paralympics.

My conclusion? Anything that is funded by public funds, charity, lottery money etc should not carry advertisments. If that means that certain channels don't want them, fair enough. When allowed by the suits, the BBC does a terrific job.

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Re: Comparison

Going half way can work. In Canada the Olympics were on CBC, that has a mix of government funding and ads. The coverage was well done with a wide range of sports covered.

The last few years it's been CTV and it's been crap. They only show the "popular" sports, or ones that a Canadian might win. They don't cut show like "so you think you can dance" as it's all about the money for them.

The CBC can do a better job because they don't have to make a profit and receive public funding to show programs that are of interest to the public even if they are not of interest to the advertisers.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Comparison

Fine. Then you pay for it by subscription. The BBC tax is outdated and increasingly uncollectable.

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Nev
FAIL

Re: Comparison

Here in France we are forced to pay the the TV licence (via local habitation tax) AND watch adverts on TV too.

And yet still the content is abysmal. 90% garbage.

Luckily there still the iPlayer and Freesat options to watch some good TV.....

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Anonymous Coward

Who and How?

"If, as expected, the court backs the Commission, then France will be forced to abandon the telco tax."

Who is actually going to "force" them to do it, and how is it going to be done? Is the court going to send over a bailiff or maybe a sergeant-at-arms with a mace to arrest the specific individual or individuals who should have, but didn't, comply with the court's ruling? Or is the court simply going to send registered letters to that same individual or individuals? What is the actual mechanism here by which the court imposes its decision?

This matter is really kind of opaque to me...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Who and How?

If the court tells the telcos that they don't have to pay, they will probably just not pay anymore.

If the court told you that you didn't have to pay your taxes, would they have to send a bailiff to stop you?

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Re: Who and How?

I believe the country is repeatedly fined by the EU until the law is changed.

Spain copied this model, they put a tax on telcos to subsidise state TV and it's even the same level (0.9% of profits). Needless to say they're also being dragged through the EU courts for cross-subsidies.

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Re: Who and How?

If the court rules in favour of the Commission then there is normally a period of grace for the member state to change or adopt the law. If the country does nothing then the Commission can and does impose fines. But the court cases can take a few years. Fines are almost never imposed from the date of the infringement. A universal, per household licence fee really is about the best way to fund state broadcasting whilst minimising state interference, though Channel 4's charter is also quite interesting: it is funded by a guaranteed levy on other commercial stations plus what it can earn itself and editorial and programming independence are written into the charter.

For the record France is not significantly worse than other countries in this respect; I think only the Scandinavians are the only countries with nearly spotless records with everyone else taking up to five years to do what they've agreed to. Greece is noticeably lax and that's just getting the laws on or off the statute books - its inability to enforce such laws in one of the subtexts of the current bailout mechanism, which is why the Commission is part of the troika and gets to provide the bureaucrats to check the Greek paper work: "you know that law you passed on ....Well, it doesn't actually do anything, does it?". Sorry, for the aside.

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Anonymous Coward

@Charlie Clark

Thank you for the detailed answer, but actually, my lack of understanding is at a somewhat more basic level.

Law as we meet it in our daily lives, ultimately depends on a court being able to produce force to impose its will. If you disobey a court order, for example, the court will send out court officers or police officers to compel you to do what you have been ordered to do under threat of being jailed/imprisoned. At times the court will send people to confiscate your property, either real, as in land or goods, or "virtual" such as money in a bank account.

That is the sense in which I do not understand how this matter works. What exactly can the court do to force France, a sovereign nation with modern armaments and a large standing army, to comply with its dictates? Can it garnish France's bank accounts? Or put the President of France in jail or prison until he does as he is told?

There's a vast difference, of course, between a person and a nation, and although I have a fairly good idea of how a court deals with an cantankerous person, I have no idea how a court deals with a cantankerous sovereign country.

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FAIL

I'm not sure I understand...

"TF1's advertising revenue for the first half of calendar 2012 was €713.2m, down 5.9 per cent on the same period a year earlier, leading to a 52.6 per cent slump in operating profit to €133.9m over that time. "

So TF1's profits are slightly less than half what they were last year and this means they are in trouble? But they still made a profit of €133.9m. So why, exactly, are they in trouble? It's not as if they actually made a loss, or even just broke even. They made a feckin' great profit. Just not as much as last year.

This seems to me to be the "market" disease of "grow or die", ie the financial markets, and thus the shareholders, will start to bail out if a company doesn't "grow" it's profits. By bailing out of a perfectly good company simply because it's *profits* didn't grow ends up causing a self-fulfilling prophecy. Short term profits at the cost of potentially bankrupting perfectly good companies.

Icon, because IMO, that's what the shareholders often do.

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WTF?

Re: The BBC

"£15/month to get all the ITV channels."

Somehow I think the cost would need to be a little higher than that, when you factor in how many people would actually be prepared to pay for ITV

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Headmaster

> The original ban on advertising between 2am and 6am

FYI that should be "8pm to 6am" (It was 20:00 not 02:00)

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