Culture minister hands lifeline to France 4 channel

Headquarters of France Televisions, the French public national television broadcaster, in Paris. AFP PHOTO / MIGUEL MEDINA (Photo credit should read MIGUEL MEDINA/AFP via Getty Images)

Public broadcaster France Télévisions’ France 4 channel could be saved from closure as a consequence of the increased popularity of its youth and educational content shown during the ongoing Covid-19 lockdown.

French minister of culture Franck Riester told the France Inter radio station that no final decision has been made on the channel’s future.

France 4, which is regularly used by the broadcaster to show sports content, was due to close on August 9, just after the end of the now-postponed Tokyo Olympics, as part of a cost-cutting measure.

Sports events shown by France 4 have included matches from the European Rugby Challenge Cup, FIS World Ski Championships and selected games from tennis’ French Open. The 2019 European Rugby Challenge Cup final between French sides Clermont and La Rochelle attracted an average audience of 1.07 million viewers on France 4, along with a 4.7-per-cent viewing share.

The channel is the main outlet for France Télévisions’s educational and youth programmes. It has been showing pre-recorded daily broadcasts of school lessons during the lockdown.

France Télévisions’s France Ô channel is also due to be closed on August 9 as part of the savings proposals set out by the French government. It shows content from the French overseas departments and collectivities in mainland France.