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Script competition

France 4 closure ‘could be delayed’

Canadian animation ToonMarty is among the international children’s shows to have been picked up by FTV

French public broadcaster France Télévisions (FTV) is considering pushing back the date it is set to close France 4, its channel dedicated to children’s and family programming.

Last year the French government controversially made FTV implement plans to axe the DTT network as part of cost-cutting measures, with the channel’s programming to be made available online instead.

However, Les Echos has reported that the pubcaster is reviewing whether September 2020, when France 4 had been scheduled to go dark, is too soon.

According to the report, FTV is conscious that it needs to ensure the digital platform that will host the children’s programming, due to launch early next year, is powerful enough to compete with the various competitors it will face in the French market.

These include Netflix, which is likely to be joined by the direct-to-consumer platforms backed by US media giants such as Disney, NBCUniversal and WarnerMedia in the coming years.

The report says the French government has not yet formally set the conditions for France 4’s closure, which has been fiercely opposed by local producers, and adds that sources have said it could even reverse its decision.

FTV is the biggest animation commissioner in France, airing half the shows produced in the country, and has attempted to placate local producers by promising to sustain its more than €30m (US$35m) annual investment in animation following the closure of France 4.

It also acquires international kids’ content for local audiences, such as Canadian animation series ToonMarty.

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Content London 2019
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