TF1 records an 8.9% drop in quarterly advertising sales

By Mathieu Rosemain

PARIS, October 27 (Reuters)The largest private television broadcaster in France TF1 TFFP.PA said on Thursday that third-quarter advertising sales fell 8.9%, hurt by a strong comparison base last year, when sales were boosted by the broadcast of the European football championship.

TF1 also pointed to a loss of digital advertising revenue after the sale of Livingly Media and The group’s advertising sales for the period fell to 327.9 million euros ($327.7 million) from 360 million a year earlier.

Consolidated revenue amounted to 553 million euros in the third quarter, up nearly 6% year-on-year, strongly boosted by sales from TF1 Newen’s TV production subsidiary, which created programs such as “Versailles” and “Plus belle la vie”.

The parent company of the Bouygues group BOUY.PA has been working for more than a year on a project to acquire a majority stake in the second French private television channel M6 MMTP.PAbefore TF1 and M6 abandoned last month.

Their merger plan, intended to counter the rise of US streaming platforms, stemmed from antitrust demands rendering the deal irrelevant, they said at the time.

TF1 has spent a total of 25 million euros in 2021 and 2022 to work on the merger plan, chief financial officer Philippe Denery told reporters on a call.

TF1 appointed Rodolphe Belmer as CEO just a week after the deal fell through.

Belmer, former head of Canal Plus at Vivendi VIV.PA and satellite operator Eutelsat ETL.PAwill lead the television group at a time when competition from Netflix and Disney is becoming increasingly acute, as platforms eye up ad-supported video streaming.

The group did not provide financial targets for the year.

($1 = 1.0005 euros)

(Reporting by Mathieu Rosemain; editing by David Evans and David Gregorio)

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