Two decrees amending the rules applicable to television services, published yesterday in the Official Journal, enter into force today: the first relaxes the rules on advertising, the second relaxes the days when cinematographic works cannot be broadcast.

This reform is part of the modernization of the legislative and regulatory framework of the audiovisual sector desired by the President of the Republic.

The changes made must help create an environment that is more conducive to the dynamism of companies in the sector, faced with economic difficulties that have been reinforced by the health crisis and competition from new global digital players. They also aim to improve the financing of audiovisual and film creation by the channels. Finally, they will also allow the public a wider presence of cinema on television, whose pandemic crisis has demonstrated the still essential role in the dissemination of works.

The decree amending the television advertising regime provides for a double relaxation of Decree No. 92-280 of 27 March 1992, which defines the obligations of television service publishers with regard to advertising, sponsorship and teleshopping:

  • It authorizes segmented advertising, that is, the possibility for television services to offer advertising messages better suited to broadcast areas and viewers. In order to preserve the advertising resources of local media (print, radio and local television), however, this openness is limited: these messages cannot mention the address of the advertiser and the hourly volume of these messages is limited. To protect young audiences, segmented advertising will remain prohibited when broadcasting youth programs. Finally, these advertising messages must be identified appropriately to ensure that viewers are properly informed;
  • It authorizes television advertising for the film sector for a period of 18 months. This experimental authorization aims to accompany the return of the spectators in the cinemas. It will be the subject of an evaluation report on its impact on the film industry sector and, in particular, on the film distribution sector in order to prevent a concentration of it, as well as on cinema attendance. This report will also include a review of the promotional practices implemented by service publishers and their advertising boards. As regards these practices, the public authorities will strongly encourage the conclusion of an inter-professional charter to ensure the diversity of films promoted.

 

The decree amending the broadcasting regime for cinematographic works on television services loosens the rules of decree no. 90-66 of 17 January 1990. It takes into account the public interest by making it easier for cinema films to be broadcast in the open and by offering a wider choice to viewers.

These measures also make it possible to harmonize the regulations between traditional modes of distribution and delineatory modes of access to works (in particular catch-up television services for film services, and video-on-demand services by subscription).

The decree thus loosens the schedule for the programming of cinematographic works applicable to «non cinema» channels: films can be broadcast on Wednesdays and Fridays evening and Saturdays and Sundays during the day. The broadcast ban will nevertheless be maintained on Saturday evening from 8.30 pm, except for films pre-financed by the channels that broadcast them as well as for art and essay films. In the case of film services, constraints are more limited, in particular because of the weight of their investment in film financing. A review of these flexibilities will be carried out by the Conseil supérieur de l'audiovisuel no later than 18 months after their entry into force.

Finally, while the timetable for the Parliament’s examination of the draft audiovisual law has been upset by the health crisis, the transposition of the European Directive on audiovisual media services, which will allow the financing and exhibition obligations of French and European production to be applied to platforms, will be implemented by ordinance so that it can enter into force in 2021.