The French Competition Authority has defended its stance over the proposed merger between TF1 and M6.
The two broadcasters abandoned their merger on Friday describing the remedies offered by the Authority as untenable. “Despite the additional remedies proposed, it appears that only structural remedies concerning at least the sale of the TF1 channel or the M6 channel would allow the operation to be authorised,” representatives of the two channels said in a statement.
Speaking on the BFM Business channel, Benoît Coeuré, president of the Autorité de la concurrence said the Authority had “concluded that the operation was not possible as it stood because it would have created an ultra-dominant player in TV advertising” with the capture of “more than 70%” of total advertising revenue.
The new TF1-M6 entity “would also have had very strong market power over distribution by internet service providers and would have been able not only to impose but to increase its rates to the detriment of viewers”.
Coeuré argued that the defence offered by the protagonists of the merger that a combination would help fight off competition from US platforms was not sufficient.
“The platforms are moving towards targeted advertising because they know everything about you … and they are aimed at people who do not watch the same programme at the same time,” he explained.
According to Coeuré, TV is “a mass medium” which “allows you to reach several million people at the same time”. “To launch a product, you launch it on TV,” he said, following consultations with the industry in recent months.