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Public Service Media in France

  • Raymond KuhnEmail author
Chapter

Abstract

The chapter provides an overview of the long and chequered relationship between the state and public service media in France. Until the 1980s, the state exercised a monopoly in broadcasting that was particularly strongly enforced in the supply of television programming. Following the introduction of commercial channels and the privatisation of TF1 in the 1980s, a more competitive environment was established, with competition between public and private providers for audiences and advertising revenue. Competition has been enhanced in the 2000s with the transition to digital and the entry into the marketplace of new players such as Netflix. The state’s relationship with public service media has evolved over this period, but some areas in which it continues to play an important role include funding (see recent debates about the licence fee and advertising), regulation (via a regulatory authority), appointments (sometimes directly, more frequently indirectly) and objectives (contractual discussions with the Ministry of Culture and Communication). This chapter addresses key aspects of change and continuity in the relationship between the state and public service media since 1945, assessing the extent of both political and economic liberalisation during this period. A second objective of the chapter is to address some contemporary issues involving public service media in the digital age, such as market share, funding, values and structural organisation. Some questions related to public service media (such as their contribution in a varied and extensive media market) are not new in themselves, nor are they confined to the French experience. However, their pertinence has increased in the digital environment, with the result that arguably the most important challenges now facing public service media in France are more economic than political.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Queen Mary University of LondonLondonUK

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