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Mitterrand: new initiatives on connected TV and fiction production

French culture and communication minister Frédéric Mitterrand has used the MIP TV programming market in Cannes to launch an enquiry into the impact of connected TV on the audiovisual market.

Mitterrand said that sales of connected TVs could represent 70% of total TV sales by 2013. He said that such devices represented a new form of convergence between broadcasting and the internet and, as such, their impact on the audiovisual market and on ways of consuming content represented both a source of concern and of opportunity. Mitterrand said it was up to government and regulators to get to grips with the confluence of the internet and TV and the impact of this on content creation. He said that he and the minster of industry and energy and the digital economy, Eric Besson, would launch an enquiry on the subject shortly.

Mitterrand also said that he was launching a consultation, under the aegis of the Centre National du Cinéma (CNC), on what he described as a “crisis” in French TV drama production, particularly its failure to develop a strong TV export business. Mtterrand last week received a report from Arte France project director Pierre Chevalier, producer Sylvie Pialat and screenwriter Franck Philippon on ways to promote the financing and development of shows. Mitterrand said, in contrast to the French model of promoting domestic cinema production, France had failed to develop a TV drama production business comparable to that of the UK or Germany.

Separately, referring to pay TV operator Canal Plus’s plans to launch a free digital-terrestrial channel, Mitterrand spoke of the need to preserve diversity of sources of finance for content creation. Rival broadcasters TF1 and M6 had earlier come out in favour of a moratorium on the launch of new channels. However, the move by Canal Plus to launch its own service has led them to move forwards with plans for their own free-to-air channels to fill additional ‘bonus’ frequencies on the DTT platform after switchover.