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French Senate eyes tougher plurality rules

April 4, 2022

French broadcasting rules and obligations are probably the toughest in Europe, and are likely to become even more rigid. The French senate has published a report on media concentration, which some observers say was prompted by the merger proposals between TF1 and M6 and the Vivendi take-over bid of Lagardère.

A report to clients from equity analysts at investment bank Exane/BNPP suggests the Senate did not take a position on the merger and the report is more focused on the fee contribution to public broadcaster France Télévisions.

“This is in light of Macron’s plan to cancel the audiovisual license fee and replace it with another funding measure for the public broadcaster. The Senate proposes an ‘autonomous and sustainable fiscal resource’ as the funding measure,” notes the report.

The Senate also suggests a range of measures applicable to the major American media giants in order to guarantee local media independence: e.g. looking into the anti-concentration reform which dates back from 1986, says the bank.

“The French media regulation is among the toughest in Europe with many rules still pre-dating the Internet era. Therefore, any sign that there may be a more competitive environment in the future with rules adapted for the current age is a positive,” states Exane/BNPP.

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