Saturday, August 21, 2010

The new media scene

In France, the end of August carries many new nominations and strategic decisions fed by a very long Summer holiday.

The new chairman of the public TV broadcaster, Rémy Pfimlin is setting up his staff. Nobody was surprised by the departure of Arlette Chabot,the head of the News department. Sarkozy, following a long tradition of government interference wanted her dismissal. A change of chairman was a hard to miss opportunity to please the President.

The arrival of Patino as head of digital activities and the discreet Channel 5 was a way to please a friend of the powerful Alain Minc and leave open the Job of France Culture Patino wanted to leave anyway. The next step will be the nomination of the people in charge of the two main Channels, France 2 and France3. Tough jobs, highly sensitive.

Expect some new actors on the press scene. The sale of le Parisien has to be finalised. Philippe Hersant must make up his mind very quickly. Will he sell at a low price to Credit Mutuel his share of Est Républicain? Will he strike a deal with Bolloré about Nice Matin? Time is running short for him, his family and his bankers.

Same thing for group Sud Ouest, caught up by the crisis of the free sheets. What to sell? Who is buying or willing to help? Hard choices for the family owned group.

Last but not least. The Norwegian Schibsted has to fix a strategy on the French market. It owns 50% of 20 Minutes and How does it consider its partnership with Ouest France that owns the remaining 50%?

There will be no happy surprise for Christmas.