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TF1 and M6 feel the impact of COVID-19

French broadcaster TF1 has withdrawn its objectives for the 2021 financial year and has definitively said it will not pay a dividend for 2019 after the coronavirus crisis impacted it heavily in the first half.

Overall net revenues for the group were 22.9% lower than for the same period last year at €883.5 million, and net profits were down 64.2% at €38.4 million.

Gilles Pélisson

Advertising revenue fell by over a quarter compared with last year, down to €586.1 million, with advertisers withdrawing campaigns from the onset of France’s lockdown in March. TF1 said it had seen a slow comeback of advertisers particularly in the fields of teledoms, e-commerce and health.

Despite the slowdown, CEO Gilles Pélisson said the broadcaster had demonstrated its ability to adapt to the crisis and soften its impact.

“The results of the first half demonstrate the group’s capacity to adapt faced with a crisis that has severely impacted the totality of our activities. It attests notably to the formidable commitment of the group’s collaborators, the resilience of our broadcast model and the unmissable nature of our output. The group has made itself well-placed to ensure a final quarter that responds to the needs of our audience and client,” said Pélisson.

Rival commercial broadcaster M6 meanwhile also saw its revenue fall by 22% in the first half to €557.3 million with advertising revenue again falling by a similar amount – 25.7% – to TF1 to land at €400.6 million.

M6 said it had managed to offset some 59% of the fall in revenues by making economies that saw costs fall by 16.2% to €476.1 million. ]

Operating profit (EBITA) was €43.1 million, down 16.2%. Like for like net profit was €42.7 million, down from €88.4 million.