Advanced Television

France: Niel’s SIX challenger revealed

February 15, 2023

From Pascale Paoli-Lebailly in Paris

Xavier Niel, owner of Iliad (Free) and several publications including Le Monde, has appeared before a hearing of French TV regulator Arcom in connection with his ‘SIX’ bid to takeover the M6 DTT frequency. Niel insisted that SIX “doesn’t aim to replace a channel with another” but to “create a new all-genre TV channel”.  He claims SIX is based on a fresh content library, with higher quotas that what currently exists in certain genres, as well as major investment in French content. Niel, who is France’s eighth wealthiest individual according to Forbes, wants to put “people before money” and provide a channel “adapted to French viewers habits and life”.Promising that all prime-time will start before 9:00pm (which isn’t currently the case on French DTT channels), The SIX project wants to use the power of social networks to build linear audiences.  SIX’s linear feed will be free of charge and will rely on innovative ad formats for income. Niel says he’ll invest €70 million into French long-tail independent production, €25 million into the film industry, €60 million into entertainment and formats, €19 million into music.In 2021 and then in 2022, he unsuccessfully tried to acquire RTL’s stake in the M6 Group, following the failure of TF1-M6 merger, in partnership with the Berlusconi family (MediaForEurope).

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