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France 4 closure postponed to next summer

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)

France’s new Minister of Culture Roselyne Bachelot has temporarily reprieved public broadcaster France Télévisions’ France 4 channel from closure.

France 4 and the France Ô channel were due to have been closed on Sunday as part of a long-trailed cost-cutting measure for the broadcaster.

However the Minister of Culture, who took up her post last month, has postponed France 4’s closure until next summer, while France Ô will now be closed on August 23.

France 4 is regularly used by the broadcaster to show sports content. Such events 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 Covid-19 lockdown and it is this contribution that has driven its reprieve.

France 4’s eventual closure will save France Télévisions €40m ($46.7m) per year.

France Ô shows content from the French overseas departments and collectivities in mainland France.