14 Jun 2001 0 comments. tbs.pm/2218
National channel – now entirely advertising funded.
TF1 has the distinction of being (we believe) the only national flagship channel to be privatised in western Europe. The station was sold off in order to raise money – but there is still disquiet in France to this day over the decision. If you would choose to imagine it, the privatisation of TF1 was akin to BBC1 (and not BBC2 or BBC Radio) being sold to The Daily Telegraph or Trinity Mirror.
Antenne 2 (later France 2)
National channel – Licence fee & advertising
We start at Christmas 1990, with a very polished ident and announcer from the French second channel…
…and flash back to 1986 and a less polished, and, to UK eyes, very avant guarde style for the channel.
She’s changed clothes and background colour, but the announcer is doing a double shift today, presenting daytime programmes (above) and closing down the station (left). Only the earrings remain the same.
The French are very protective of their culture, but the ravages of the 1980s could not be escaped no matter how hard you tried to do so. Miami Vice, tonight at 8.35pm.
The news at midday on one side and a closedown in progress on the other. All in pastel shades.
A stylish change for modern presentation, as seen by this menu, breakbumper out and breakbumper in from 2002 – time and tide having waited for no one, A2 is now France2.
FR3 (later France 3)
Regional channel – Licence fee & advertising
Let’s start by bringing FR3 on air with a still caption of the ‘3’ symbol and an odd tuning signal.
After a fast-moving 3D ident, it’s time to look at what’s happening on Wednesday evening on FR3. The answer appears to be ‘nasty French singers’ but it could be ‘nasty French variety’.
The nastiness continues with a Scandinavian-style standard promotional style, this time advertising that awful British export, ‘Benny Hill’. Well, it was the 1980s, a decade that taste forgot.
A different style of promo, this one features a jigsaw of ‘3’ symbols splitting apart to reveal the programme excerpt underneath – in this case, alternative dance.
A look at the regions themselves in the final programme before closedown.
RTF (later became TF1)
National channel – Licence fee & limited state advertising
Gallic fashions and design in the 1960s, as RTF celebrates the move in to colour 625 to replace b&w 819.
RTF2 (later became A2)
National channel – Licence fee.
The design style of RTF2 is very interesting. Despite the unusual Gallic twist to the actual layout, this ident is surprisingly similar to Rediffusion London and BBC2. All three were launched in the same month in 1964.
Later to become a suite of channels and eventually an entire platform (much like Sky in the UK) in the Netherlands, Spain and France itself, Canal+ had more modest beginnings as a terrestrial pay-TV channel, taking the UHF frequencies formerly used by the defunct La Cinq commercial channel.
Private national channel
Whilst some countries spent years arguing over whether to introduce commercial television, those whose state channels had carried adverts for a long time debated the possible introduction of private, unregulated television. In France, this meant the populist La Cinq. The channel didn’t prosper and eventually went bankrupt.