French TV Market

20 July 2010

This report contains our analysis of the French TV market. France, like the UK, is a difficult market for pay-TV and, recently, for some analogue terrestrial channels as well. We look at the analogies and differences between the two countries. In both places, excess competition and declining advertising revenues are beginning to create cracks in the noble edifices of the major TV groups. As in the UK, we conclude that analogue commercial TV may be less affected by digitalisation and pay-TV than most analysts expect.

We conclude that the economics of both free and premium digital terrestrial television are so unattractive that no rational bidder would enter the race for the licence. Likely advertising revenue on free channels will barely cover the transmission costs, while pay services will be crippled by astronomical subscriber management costs and low, or negative, margins on channels provided by BSkyB.

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