France: terrestrial networks’ share down as theme channels increase share

French DTT and thematic channels continued to win eyeballs and eat into the viewing share of the mainstream networks in 2007. Ratings outfit Médiamétrie’s 2007 annual rating survey reveals that thematic channels commanded a 17.5% overall share last year, compared with 13.8% a year earlier.

Free-to-air commercial broadcaster TF1’s share decreased slightly to 30.7%. France 2 was in second with a 18.1% share ahead of France 3 with 14.1%. French president Nicolas Sarkozy said this week that he wants advertising banned on the public channels with the missing revenue made up from a tax levied on the private networks ad revenues and new media activities.

Second-ranked commercial network M6 had an 11.5% share. Top rated programs over 2007 were Rugby World Cup matches, with a record breaking at 18.3 million viewers and 67.4% audience share for the France-UK semi-final. US procedural CSI: Crime Scene Investigation counted for almost half of the best ratings.

Separately, André Béraud, producer and associate partner at Canadian production company Cirrus Communication, will join TF1 next March as director of fiction. He will report to TF1’s head of fiction Takis Candilis.