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French public broadcaster criticizes streaming services

The head of France Télévisions has accused streaming video and social media platforms of trying to erode the country's unique culture and society.

The head of France Télévisions has accused streaming video and social media platforms of trying to erode the country's unique culture and society.

The headquarters of France Télévisions in Paris. (Photo by Lionel Allorge)
The headquarters of France Télévisions in Paris. (Photo by Lionel Allorge)

An official at France’s public broadcast service has criticized social media platforms and streaming services for trying to erode the country’s cultural and social significance.

During an appearance at France Télévisions’ conference this week, the network’s president Delphine Ernotte-Cunci said it was the responsibility of the country’s linear television networks to reject attempts by outside digital platforms to “impose a kind of cultural uniformity” within the country.

Like other countries, France has seen an increase in foreign streaming services arrive over the last few years, including localized versions of Netflix, Disney Plus, DAZN and Amazon’s Prime Video. While traditional linear broadcast and pay television continues to be the main source for content consumption in France and other parts of Europe, streaming services are starting to grab more viewers as they license popular content and clinch rights to highly-valued live sports broadcasts.

Making things easier for streaming services is a trend among TV makers to incorporate more Internet-connected platforms like Android TV, VIDAA and Amazon’s Fire TV into their sets. Ernotte-Cunci said this strategy makes it difficult for linear channels like those operated by France Télévisions to compete, because connected TV platforms tend to steer consumers toward streaming services.

“When you look at today’s TV sets that are being sold, they are all smart TVs, and it is very difficult to find linear channels on them as all they highlight is apps,” she complained.

At the same time, France Télévisions is working to build out its own streaming TV app, called France.TV, and is hoping more young people who are naturally drawn to connected platforms will consume more content through that platform. The app will incorporate both full-length and short-form streaming content, as well as Internet-accessible versions of French linear TV channels.

“It is via the France.TV app that people will be able to find and access linear channels in the future as well as our various services,” Ernotte-Cunci affirmed. “Today, we are in a hyper-competitive world, and with so many choices, one needs to simplify.”

To that end, France Télévisions is increasing its content spend with a focus on attracting young adults, to include new entertainment and live sports offerings on both linear and streaming television.

Coming later this year is a newly-developed newscast aimed at reaching younger audiences between the ages of 12 and 18, which will be distributed daily on France.TV. Clips from the program will be offered on social media platforms, including YouTube, SnapChat and TikTok.

Meanwhile, France Télévisions has renewed its licensing agreement to produce and broadcast the Tour de France, and will begin offering matches from the FIFA Women’s World Cup in partnership with commercial broadcaster M6.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is the publisher of The Desk and reports on the business and policy matters involving the broadcast television, streaming video and radio industries. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, Disney-ABC, Tribune Broadcasting and McNaughton Newspapers. Matthew is based in Northern California, has won numerous awards in the field of journalism, and is a member of IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors).