July 27, 2021

“France needs strong players to resist the global audiovisual and digital giants”

The SMA directive, which will oblige streaming platforms to finance French creation, must come into force on 1is July. Where is the reform, which also concerns traditional television channels?

The large platforms (Amazon, Netflix) will participate in French creation for 20% to 25% of their turnover. They could invest around 200 million euros per year. It’s a cultural revolution! We are working on three texts: the SMAD decree [services de médias audiovisuels à la demande], which allows the directive to be operational, is finalized. The “TNT” and “cable-satellite” decrees, which revise the funding obligations of historic channels, are being drawn up, and the media chronology is being negotiated between the players. I would like to release everything at the same time, at the end of the month, or the beginning of July, because that makes up a global architecture.

Canal + threatens to leave TNT if it does not get to broadcast the films three or four months after their theatrical release, against six to eight months today. Do you take them seriously?

In a negotiation, it is normal to show your determination and your muscles. Some want to arrive earlier in the media timeline. Others stay where they are. The world of traditional cinema wants the contribution of platforms to be the strongest. The platforms, they say: we will not contribute and be relegated to thirty-six months [après la sortie des films en salle]. It all gets along. But I am confident that the players will arrive at a balanced solution, everyone will benefit from it. If the negotiations were not successful, the government would regain control, but we will not come to that.

TF1 and M6 justified their marriage by the need to fight Netflix. Is such a rapprochement desirable?

It is an operation between two private groups. I don’t have to say whether I’m for or against. I will only be vigilant with respect to the rules of competition – and the competition authority will have to pronounce itself – and with pluralism, controlled by the Superior council of audio-visual [CSA]. France needs strong players to resist the global audiovisual and digital giants. The crisis has revealed the fragility of the French market, which certainly needs to be consolidated. On the programs, it is subject to competition from the new platforms. The growth of the advertising market is mainly done in digital, and not in the traditional market.

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