TF1 appoints new CEO

France’s biggest commercial broadcast group, TF1, has revealed Gilles Pélisson will succeed Nonce Paolini as CEO.

Gilles PelissonPaolini’s term as chairman and CEO ends in the first quarter of next year and TF1 said Pélisson will take over in February, 2016.

“The board of directors thanks Nonce Paolini most sincerely for his nine years at the helm of the TF1 group,” TF1 said. “It underlines the importance of his accomplishments, carried out with a constant eye on constructive labour relations. TF1 has maintained its leadership position during a very complex period marked by a serious economic crisis and major technological, regulatory, competitive and market change. “

Harvard Business School graduate Pélisson has previously headed Euro Disney as well as Bouygues Telecom. He has been a TF1 director since 2009.

His appointment came on the day TF1 announced results for the first nine months of 2015 that revealed falling viewing share and revenue. There was, however, an uptick in profit.

The broadcaster said that revenue decreased in the first three quarters because of lower ad revenues at TF1’s four free-to-air channels, as well as the closure of the print version of its Metronews publication. It cited intense competition in TV advertising, as a result of the proliferation of DTT channels, as a key factor for the ad revenue dip.

The quartet of TF1 free-to-air channels registered a combined 27.6% audience share in the year to end-December, down 1.2 points on the same period a year earlier.

“This performance should be seen in light of the specific market context, with the HD DTT channels gaining ground, intense competition in programming schedules, and non-linear consumption on the increase,” TF1 said. “Another key factor is a tough comparative arising from the screening of the FIFA World Cup in June and July 2014.”

Looking ahead, TF1 said: “With no clear signs of economic recovery and visibility still poor, the net TV advertising market could remain stable in the fourth quarter of 2015.”

The broadcaster said it is pushing ahead with a multichannel strategy and focusing on key slots, such as primetime on the core TF1 channel.

In pay TV, TF1 registered a one-off gain from the sale of Eurosport France to Discovery and operating profit was up at €32.8 million (US$36 million) compared to a €1.6 million loss last year. Revenue, without Eurosport and also the Stylía channels was, however, down €34.7 million year-on-year, taking he total to €58.8 million.

For the nine months to end-September, revenue was €1.4 billion, a 4.3% decline. An operating profit of €106.8 million was significantly up on the €30.7 million recorded a year earlier, boosted by the Eurosport sale.