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TF1 to launch formats division

French commercial broadcaster TF1 is to launch a formats arm as part of wide ranging plans to increase local production.

TF1 CEO Nonce Paolini announced that the broadcaster will launch TF1 Formats, run by deputy general director Takis Candilis, which will collect information and research on international format trends and co-creating projects.

The company is also looking to boost its own inhouse drama production and unviled plans to ramp up plans for series following the appointment of Canadian producer André Beraud and plans to strengthen long term programming contracts with the US studios and other international production partners.

TF1 is also looking to increase its presence in the digital terrestrial market. It is looking to acquire a DTT channel. Currently the broadcaster does not fully own a secondary channel that broadcasts on DTT, sharing TMC, which is also 40% owned by AB Group. Analysts note that this will be one of TF1’s priorities in 2008. "We believe that the latter in particular is crucial given the group’s weak position in free-to-air DTT, where it does not have a secondary channel that is fully controlled," notes Morgan Stanley.