French TV viewing drops in first six months

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PARIS -- More French viewers tuned out their televisions during the first six months of 2007, with total audience numbers down for the major networks, according to audience measurement service Mediametrie.

TF1 saw an average market share of 30.9% for the January-June period, down 0.7% compared with the same period last year. France 2 dropped 0.9% to an 18.4% audience share, though its sister channel France 3 was the only channel to see an increase in viewers over the period with a 0.4% jump to reach a 14.4% share. And M6 took an average market share of 11.8%, dropping a full 1.1% from last year.

Other TV, including cable, satellite, local stations and digital channels, represented 16.1% of total viewers, a 2.8% rise from 2006, Midiametrie said.

TF1 was the only channel to increase its audience share among viewers 15-24 years old and housewives under 50 years old.

In primetime, TF1 earned its highest scores for the Segolene Royal-Nicolas Sarkozy presidential debate on May 2 with 13 million viewers and a 46.8% market share, followed by musical charity spectacle "La Caravane des Enfoires" with 11.8 million viewers and a 50.2% market share on March 2.

Gallic series "Josephine, Profession Ange Gardien" and U.S. crime drama "CSI: New York" also reached more than 11 million viewers. "CSI" was the public channel's most popular primetime show, with 20 of its episodes among the 50 best on the channel over the six-month period.

M6 received a boost from Uncle Sam, with U.S. series among the most popular primetime programs this year. "NCIS" episodes on Jan. 5 and Jan. 12 reached more than six million viewers, and "Bones" also made it into the top five slots for the period.

"Without a Trace" left its mark on France 2 with the missing persons drama taking four of the top five best primetime scores for the channel, topped only by the March 6 broadcast of telefilm "Histoire d'une fille de ferme" (Story of a Farm Girl).
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