Gov't ups France Televisions budget


PARIS -- French pubcasting group France Televisions and the French government have finally come to an agreement -- after a year and a half of tense budget negotiations.

The government has agreed to increase its budget by an average of 3% per year, with a 3.5% increase set for 2008 to encompass the country's plans for a shift from analog to digital television nationwide by 2011.

The budget will rise 2.9% in 2009 and 2.6% in 2010. The funding jump is in line with France Televisions' plans to spend €21 million ($27.5 million) on the launch of a high definition television service on France 3, set for September.

France Televisions, in turn, has agreed to reinvest the €19 million ($24.9 million) stemming from its move away from analog TV on the modernization of its public networks and on audiovisual production.

"Thanks to the arbitration of the prime minister, we've been able to provide the public audiovisual sector with the means necessary to allow it to face evolutions in technology and to be a major player in cultural life," French Cultural Minister Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres told French newspaper Le Figaro.