The President of the French communications regulator Conseil Supérieur de l’Audiovisuel has said it is natural” and “understandable” that media players should want to “get their act together”.
Roch-Olivier Maistre was speaking ahead of this week’s hearings into the proposed merger of commercial channels TF1 and M6. Speaking to a group of media agencies and reported by Le Figaro, Maistre said the companies were looking to “develop their investment capacity and a kind of cultural sovereignty”.
Maistre went onto to said the Covid crisis had played a role in amplifying fundamental trends in the audiovisual sector that also included an increase in the number of screens enjoyed by French households and the appetite of the Google companies for the advertising and content market.
“The regulator is not there to preserve the status quo, but to anticipate and accompany the transformations taking place in the media landscape,” said Maistre.
Under the proposals, Bouygues and RTL would own 30% and 16% respectively of the new group, following the acquisition of an 11% stake by Bouygues from RTL for €641 million. Bouygues will have exclusive control of the merged company, acting with RTL as a strategic shareholder.
The CSA is expected to publish its opinion early in 2022.