Media: Xavier Niel keeps an eye on television

TF1 and M6 “innovate little”. They “manage their decline”. They follow a strategy that “aims to maximize profitability”, and who “cannot be seen as a positive evolution of the landscape”. The diversity of their program offer “can surely be strengthened”. If the first two French private channels counted on Xavier Niel (individual shareholder of the World) to encourage them in their journey towards the renewal of their authorizations to issue, which expire on May 5, they are at their expense.

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Published Monday, November 28 on the website of the Audiovisual and Digital Communication Regulatory Authority (Arcom, ex-CSA), its answers to the questions asked by the body as part of the public consultation prior to the next call for applications give rather the impression that he would see the process turning into an obstacle course. While his team was to be auditioned by Arcom on Wednesday November 30, the twice unsuccessful contender for the takeover of M6 – after having imagined merging with TF1, RTL Group gave up this fall on its desire to sell the 48.3% that he owns in M6 Group – does not seem to have disarmed.

For the moment, the boss of NJJ, the holding company of Mr. Niel in the media, is not yet a candidate for one of these two DTT frequencies brought into play. But “Xavier Niel has always made it clear that he was a serious and motivated candidate for M6, he is consistent and constant in his approach”, recalls a player in the sector. Weakened by its recent marketing, the channel run by Nicolas de Tavernost is more likely to be prey than TF1, supported by its shareholder. Apart from NJJ, only the Canal+ group also split an opinion – with a much more magnanimous tone.


Considering each of the two strings as “an essential component of any television package”the group chaired by Maxime Saada pleads for them to remain free, but also for their levels of investment “both in audiovisual matters and in cinematographic matters” be perpetuated. No question of removing them or softening them. Whatever the angle from which it examines the situation, Canal+ is for the status quo. Regardless of the service chosen (TF1, M6, or another), provided that it is generalist and subject to “similar obligations” to those that exist.

It is precisely the“immobility of French actors, who replicate a proven model but rejected by the younger generations, rather than investing, innovating and taking risks” that Xavier Niel’s services wish to defeat. In addition to programs that would better meet the expectations of younger generations, in particular by being more concerned with the protection of the environment and“integration of minorities”they see in “the sanctuary of editorial staff” a “top priority”, “in a context where a conquest of power by a populist government is no longer a theoretical hypothesis”.

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Media: Xavier Niel keeps an eye on television