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IRIS 2018-7:1/17

France

Minister for Culture announces first part of her plan to reform the public audiovisual sector

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Amélie Blocman

Légipresse

On 4 June 2018, Minister for Culture Françoise Nyssen presented her plan for the reform of the public audiovisual sector - one of the election promises of the President of the Republic. The Minister explained the Government’s approach, which is based on work carried out collectively over several months by the representatives of the six companies in the public audiovisual sector (Ina, France Médias Monde, Radio France, Arte, TV5 Monde, and France Télévisions). She stated that the “transformation of content” ought to be the priority: “[I]n this period of digital upheaval, we must give priority to investment in content rather than in any one method of broadcasting”. Thus, the Minister wishes to see the public audiovisual sector reaffirm its difference and become “a committed medium that dares to be creative” (through new formats and original writing) and “anticipates uses linked with technological changes”.

By “committed medium”, the Minister explained, she meant a medium that undertakes the three major missions of public service broadcasting: proximity (tripling the number of hours of regional programming on France 3, more synergies with France Bleu), news and the discussion of ideas, and education. To achieve this, the Minister announced the launch on 6 June 2018 of a platform (“Vrai ou fake”) dedicated to decrypting fake news, to be hosted on France Info’s website. A pooled range of educational content directed at the general public is also to be launched.

The audiovisual public service therefore needed to take risks in terms of creation. The Minister announced that she had “ring-fenced” the EUR 560 million invested annually in the production of content. In addition, two new digital platforms are to be launched for the this purpose: (i) a new arts and culture “medium”, to be launched at the end of June 2018, bringing together hundreds of hours of recordings, podcasts, and web series gathered from the output of the six public companies, and (ii) “youth” programming common to Radio France, France Télévisions and France Médias Monde, with short, innovative formats. “This is one of the major features of the reform, aimed at winning back young audiences”.

Stressing the need to anticipate digital-related uses and satisfy “digital natives”, the Minister also announced a substantial investment in digital technology, with a joint investment of a further EUR 150 million on the part of the companies in the public audiovisual sector. There is also a desire to invest in the construction of a solution for an on-demand offer, in line with the uses that are currently growing rapidly. But “to do so, choices have to be made”, and the Minister has already announced that at the very least France Télévisions would be freeing up the broadcasting channel occupied by France 4 and that a consultation procedure would be launched regarding the maintenance of France Ô on that channel.

Insisting on the need to involve all interested professionals in the audiovisual and creative sectors, the Minister announced that she had appointed a task force to carry out this consultation.

The Minister announced that in the course of 2019 - after the consultation process is finished - she would be tabling three bills on the reform of governance, regulation in the digital age, and the reform of the contribution to the public audiovisual sector.

References
Discours de Françoise Nyssen, le 4 juin 2018 FR
 http://merlin.obs.coe.int/redirect.php?id=19146
 
  Speech by Françoise Nyssen on 4 June 2018