As summer heats up this year, so too will the French broadcast landscape. National regulatory body the Conseil Superieur de l’Audiovisuel (CSA) has granted eight new licenses for the recently launched digital terrestrial television (DTT) service, opening the door for Paris, France-based media conglom Lagardère to move Canal J to a pay platform, as well as launch a free-to-air kidnet.
Operating under the working title of Gulliver, the new channel is a joint venture between Lagardère and broadcaster France Télévisions (66% to 34% respectively), and will be geared to kids from age six all the way up to teenagers. The channel will have an educational and discovery focus, and will be geared at parents as well as kids. Airing from 6:30 a.m. to 11 p.m., approximately 60% of the sked will be comprised of animation, while 20% will be scripted live action, with talk and magazine shows rounding out the rest. Gulliver will launch at the end of October.
Because there is no planned spillover from Canal J’s programming slate, Lagardère has committed to US$60 million in new programming funding for Gulliver over five years, including co-productions, presales and acquisitions.
Meanwhile, it’s anticipated that Canal J will reach an estimated 1.3 million additional households on its DTT platform over the next five years. To coincide with the increased exposure, Lagardère is planning to invest an additional US$30 million in the channel over the same time period, increasing the programming budget by about 40%.
Editor’s note: The electronic version of this article has been edited from the original print version in order to correct or clarify some information that it contained.