6 Jan 2009

Prime-time ads ditched on French TV

5:26 pm on 6 January 2009

Public television no longer has advertising breaks during prime-time in France.

Advertising is now banned on French public television between 2pm and 6am. It will be phased out by 2011 as part of media reforms introduced by President Nicolas Sarkozy.

The BBC reports that he wants to improve the quality of programming but critics say it is a power grab that will deprive state broadcasters of funds.

Mr Sarkozy says state-run channels will be able to make better-quality programmes because they will no longer have to attract large audiences to secure advertising revenue.

The government says the shortfall will be funded through a higher tax on advertisements on private channels and a new tax imposed on internet providers and mobile phone operators.

Unions have called for a strike on Wednesday to coincide with the start of senate debate on the bill.