France's M6 won't sign broadcast decree

Lone holdout on agreement for minimum share of sales

PARIS -- French private broadcaster M6 on Wednesday refused to sign an agreement that will update the decree governing the relationship between French TV channels and producers.

M6 is the only network refusing to sign an amendment of the Tasca decrees, named for former Cultural Minister Catherine Tasca, which were passed early in the decade to create a framework for relations between broadcasters and producers.

The decree in question regulates the minimum share of their sales that the networks must devote to production.

In 2007, Radio France's David Kessler and Dominique Richard began a campaign to reform the laws.

TF1 CEO Nonce Paolini, France Televisions president Patrick de Carolis and Canal Plus CEO Bertrand Meheut all signed the new agreement, part of the national audiovisual reform laws passed Wednesday by the government.

"It's not a question of M6 losing its identity, but a question of equality," Culture Minister Christine Albanel said at a news conference in Paris.

M6 has traditionally been considered the most "American" of the main Gallic terrestrial channels because it airs a number of popular U.S. series.

If M6 doesn't sign, "there will be a specific decree imposing obligations on M6. That would be a shame," Albanel said.

However, M6 did announce Wednesday a new agreement signed with independent producers union the SPI, in which the network agreed to devote 15% of its annual revenue in the production of French and European projects, 10% in independent productions and 11.5% of its annual revenue in fiction, animation, live performance, music videos and documentary creation.
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