TF1 net income down 33% from last year

Broadcasters ad revenue also declines

PARIS -- France's leading commercial broadcaster, TF1, on Thursday recorded a sharp fall in net income for the first six months of the year to 125 million euros ($195 million), a 33% drop from the same period last year.

Total revenue for the group was off nearly 5% in the first semester, at 1.36 billion euros ($2.12 billion). Advertising revenue from the company's main free-to-air French channel dipped nearly 4% to 891 million euros (1.39 billion). Ad revenue from the group's French theme channels, meanwhile, increased 9%, thanks primarily to TMC, the leading digital terrestrial channel in France, which captured a 2% audience share.

"The decline in advertising revenue was mainly due to the unchanged regulatory framework and the gloomy economic environment less favorable to advertising investments," the company said in a statement.

TF1 is hoping for a boost in ad income from new rules that would gradually eliminate commercials on Gallic pubcasters.

Over the first half of the year, TF1 had an average audience share of 27.6%, putting it far ahead of its Gallic competitors. The share, however, is down considerably from recent years, when the channel regularly cornered a share in the low 30s, the erosion mainly due to growth in digital channels.