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Failure of the TF1-M6 merger: “French audiovisual can be shaken within the months to come back”

The file promised to fire up the return of French audiovisual. However few observers would have guess on such a brutal consequence: the long-awaited marriage between the TF1 and M6 teams is not going to in the end happen. “This choice comes after the listening to of the events by the School of the Competitors Authority (ADLC), on September 5 and 6, to defend the curiosity and the need of the operation”, justified the 2 events. in a press launch revealed Friday night, September 16. “It seems that solely structural cures regarding a minimum of the sale of the TF1 channel or the M6 ​​channel could be corresponding to to permit the authorization of the operation. The events subsequently concluded that the mission not introduced any industrial logic” , they element elsewhere. An indication that the engagement is certainly damaged, the Authority confirmed in an announcement that it had “terminated the process initiated”.

And now ? The failure of this merger doesn’t name into query the necessity for audiovisual restructuring within the face of competitors from main American platforms corresponding to Netflix or Disney+. “Many French and European gamers who have been ready for this marriage to materialize will get up,” predicts Philippe Bailly, sector specialist at NPA Conseil. Upkeep.

L’Specific: What are the results of this aborted merger for the 2 channels?

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Philippe Bailly: TF1 and M6 should redraw their future. For the primary, within the rapid future, the query will come up of shopping for one other channel or intensifying its actions in manufacturing, for instance, which includes much less threat when it comes to competitors. Above all, it would even be a query of asking: what to do on the digital facet to compete with the streaming giants? This was one of many precedence targets of the merger with M6.

For the latter, the abandonment of the mission doesn’t change a lot at first look. Bertelsmann, the most important shareholder of RTL Group, which owns M6, is in a strategy of withdrawal: this may be seen within the gross sales of its subsidiaries in Belgium and the Netherlands. M6 additionally stays on the market. However this operation should now be carried out in report time, earlier than the renewal of its broadcasting authorization with Arcom scheduled for Might 2023. In any other case, the channel might not be offered for 5 years.

And for his or her respective teams? The way forward for small DTT channels was additionally at stake…

Sure, for his or her respective teams, the gross sales of 6TER (M6) and TFX (TF1) already concluded with Altice will fall by means of. These have been offered for within the settlement to scale back the variety of nationwide channels to seven, the utmost licensed by the Authority. Abandoning the merge cancels de facto these transfers. Similar to the sale of France Télévisions’ shares within the Salto streaming platform. Its survival, and this isn’t harassed typically sufficient, is greater than ever threatened. All of this opens up new views for all the opposite market gamers who may need been ready for this colossal file. As a result of, on arrival, the audiovisual panorama is nearly as fragmented as earlier than the beginning of negotiations between TF1 and M6.

Who would be capable of purchase the largest piece that constitutes M6?

There are lots of assumptions. That of a merger with Altice (BFMTV), through businessman Patrick Drahi. But in addition the one resulting in Xavier Niel (Iliad, Free). I’m additionally pondering of the Mediaset group (based by Silvio Berlusconi), already the chief in Spain and Italy, and which is at present advancing its pawns in Germany. By shopping for M6, it might be in a robust place on 4 markets in Europe. The tendency in this type of case is to carry out the identical “ordinary suspects” (“ordinary suspects”, reference to a well-known Hollywood movie, Editor’s notice). For this reason we are able to additionally consider an method by the Czech Daniel Kretinsky, already very invested on the planet of the media (the latter holds Marianne, Sheand has shares in The world). Though I feel M6 is means too huge for him.

Aside from M6, can different actions be triggered shortly?

Sure, gamers can have their sights set on smaller offers. I’m virtually sure, as such, that the curiosity across the NRJ group will improve within the coming instances, as a result of now we have recognized for a very long time that there’s a topic across the succession of Jean-Paul Baudecroux. The group is probably a goal. The French audiovisual sector can be shaken within the months to come back.

Conversely, might the Competitors Authority’s reservations on this concern dampen the keenness of some?

We are able to worry it sure, as a result of the Authority stays on a standard evaluation of the promoting market by separating conventional media from digital media. It thus estimated that the brand new entity TF1-M6 risked discovering itself in abuse of a dominant place by capturing the overwhelming majority of promoting income. That’s. However might the present porosity between the tv promoting market and the digital one be adequate for us to contemplate issues in another way? This query is extra central than ever and lots of gamers can be ready for clarifications on this topic.

Within the meantime, it’s the American platforms current in France which can be rubbing their fingers…

Clearly. This failure prevents them from having a robust competitor, because of the synergies generated by the 2 teams, within the conquest of consideration and viewers. And the promoting presents, with the Quick channels (for Free Promoting-supported Streaming Tv) or people who Netflix and Disney+ will develop, will be capable of upset the established order. For Netflix’s supply with promoting, for instance, relying on varied variables, its potential future income in France is estimated at 300 million euros. The agency would then have the 4th promoting company behind TF1, M6, and wouldn’t be very removed from France Télévisions.

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The opposite winner on this entire story is the Canal group. The failure of the TF1-M6 merger doesn’t strengthen France’s positions on the free-to-air facet. For its half, it continues to advance its pawns on the pay market. This week, and as an emblem, the encrypted channel confirmed its rise within the capital of the South African broadcaster Multichoice, very current within the English-speaking a part of the continent. On the spot, it leaves its Chinese language competitor StarTimes a number of lengths away. Channel performs a world recreation.


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