The CEO of Groupe M6 began the interview by explaining that the channel M6’s growth throughout the 25 years occurred in four stages, saying that even if the first stage, the “setting up”, was “probably the most exciting one,” in reality “success could not be presumed; it had to be fought for. The French audiovisual landscape was the Wild West at that time, and we had to cross the ’great plains’ to make a place for ourselves” before becoming the group that is M6 today.
As for the lessons he learned during all these years with the group, “the analyses by so-called audiovisual experts, and the major stances they take regarding the future of the sector, one can be quite sure that they will be contradicted.” He thus confirmed that the future of TV… is TV. “To me, flat screens, high definition, tablets, mobiles and now social networks help television in general, especially the general-interest channels. All these new technologies increase the number of occasions to watch television, so viewing time has never been so high.”
Nicolas de Tavernost estimates that, “M6 can still grow,” even if the goal is not to achieve the ratings of TF1, as “that would be a pipe dream,” and that “competitive programmes” would be the solution. M6 also counts on favouring French productions, and “freeing itself further of American series,” which still weigh too heavily in the programme schedules of French channels, unlike in other European countries. A change has already been felt in part on the channel, according to its CEO, by eliminating “American fiction series at 18:00, 19:00 and 20:00 every day and replacing them with French programmes,” he explains, before specifying that for evening programming, “It has to be done gradually,” as “all this takes time, and it won’t happen overnight.”
As for the question of competition from the international giants for purchasing American series, de Tavernost estimates that this phenomenon “affects pay TV more than free TV.” According to him, the best way of resisting is “to produce our own programmes.” He goes on to say that “I don’t worry too much about M6. We already have our own brands: Capital, Zone Interdite, Top Chef and Scènes de Ménages.”
Finally, when asked about his own succession, the CEO replied, “I don’t own the mandate, but my enthusiasm to continue remains intact.”