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CSA relaxes ad restrictions for TF1

The French media regulator, the CSA, has relaxed advertising restrictions placed on leading commercial broadcaster TF1 during its main one-hour news broadcasts, but has declined a request to reduce the amount of news content the broadcast is required to carry.

Renewing the broadcast licences of both TF1 and M6, the country’s other main commercial player, the CSA has allowed TF1 to introduce ad breaks during news broadcasts longer than 30 minutes, covering the Journal de 20h primetime news show.

Advert breaks will be restricted to 12 minutes for the hour, as is the case for other parts of the schedule.

In addition to rejecting a request to reduce its news broadcasts, the CSA refused to allow TF1 to reduce its output for kids and denied it permission to introduce cross-promotion between its main channel and dedicated news channel LCI.

TF1 has until now been banned from providing ad breaks during its main news shows because of its dominant position in the TV ad  market.

The broadcaster has not so far indicated that it plans to introduce new ad breaks during the shows. The CSA has estimated that green-lighting ad breaks during the broadcasts could deliver an additional €10-40 million in ad revenue a year to TF1. However, the broadcaster’s rivals fear that any such move could have a detrimental impact on the finances of digital-terrestrial channels.

Public broadcaster France Télévisions’ director-general, Delphine Ernotte, told French parliamentarians yesterday that she was not opposed to the introduction of new ad breaks on TF1.

Ernotte, who has raised the possibility of teaming up with commercial players at some point in the future to launch a common platform for French content aimed at the international market, said a healthy commercial broadcast sector was desirable.