Ad Ban on French Public TV May Be Removed Under New French Cultural Minister

Aurelie Filippetti said that she’ll re-examine the 2009 law banning ads on France Televisions after 8 p.m. and that the dialogue must be “absolutely without taboo.”

PARIS -- French couch potatoes may see their TV time interrupted again  with France's new Minister of Culture Aurelie Filippetti saying that she may move to repeal a national ban on advertising on French public TV after 8 p.m.

Just a couple of months after she took over the position from Frederic Mitterand, Filippetti is already shaking things up in France’s cultural sector.

Filippetti said on Tuesday at a French Sénat meeting that the debate on the financing of France’s audiovisual industry should be “absolutely without taboo” and added: “I am very open.”

“There is evidently the question of the return of ads or not after 8 p.m.,” Filippetti said, adding that “The brutal suppression of commercials after 8 PM destabilized the system and the budgetary compensations that were planned have led to a slightly underfunded France Televisions.”

However, no official plans have been made to amend the ban. Filipetti later told French newspaper Le Monde that “nothing has been decided, there are simply ideas being studied and no decision has been made and no timetable has been established.” 

The ban, initiated by then French president Nicolas Sarkozy, marked arevolution in France’s audiovisual landscape. The ban was an attempt to form a high-quality public TV service in the country and part of Sarkozy’s more global refurbishment of France’s media industry. Sarkozy said that taxing new media would pay for the loss in ad revenue at FTV and the plan calls for a complete ban on advertising on the public networks by 2016.

The young Filippetti, who turned 39 in June, is part of new French president Francois Hollande’s efforts to give his cabinet a youthful, dynamic and attractive look. She’s one of few women in Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault’s government and looks poised to get the Gallic media biz buzzing again if she decides to go forward with a repeal on the ad ban.