French primetime TV series in decline

But daytime TV production is increasing

PARIS -- Gallic primetime TV series production is suffering a downturn, with just 219 hours of programming produced during the first semester of this year, 30% fewer than in 2007, French trade organization FICAM said Friday.

Only 100 hours of 52-minute series were made in the territory during the first half of 2008, compared with 166 such hours in 2007. Ninety-minute fiction programs represented 119 hours of programming, compared with 138 in the first half of 2007, a 9% drop that follows an even more dramatic 34% dip in production for the format from 2006-07.

However, daytime production in the territory is booming, with 90 more hours of 26-minute series made during the first six months of this year.

Leading network TF1 was the only channel to maintain the same volume of programming hours for fiction programs this year.

France 2 saw a 20% dip in series production, France 3, a 22% drop, and M6, a whopping 82% decrease in fiction production. 50% of series produced are now made in "digital HD" format, 20% more than in 2007.