Xavier Niel presented “SIX”, his project to take over the 6th channel of TNT, but M6 defends itself

the essential
On paper, the M6 ​​project starts with a head start, with its 36 years of presence on DTT, facing the troublemaker Xavier Niel, especially since setting up a channel the size of a large television channel TNT before the end of the lease on May 5 seems impossible.

One wants to “do otherwise”, the other defends his record: Xavier Niel and the M6 ​​group clashed this Wednesday, February 15 before the media regulator for the operation of channel 6 of digital terrestrial television (TNT), that the first wants to conquer and the second to preserve.

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The managers of the two projects were interviewed for an hour and a half each by Arcom, the audiovisual regulator. This procedure is unprecedented: it is the first time since 1987 and its arrival on the hertzian network that the M6 ​​group must defend the renewal of its authorization and face a rival. Its operating license expires on May 5, just like that of TF1, which also defended its renewal for ten years on Wednesday.

Heard the first in the morning, Xavier Niel, at the end of the communication, summed up his project with a shocking formula: “putting people before money”. “We think we can create a TV channel to do things differently and I hope better on this channel” 6, hammered the billionaire, press boss and founder of the telecom operator Free.

An attack to which his rival Nicolas de Tavernost, chairman of the management board of M6, replied during his hearing in the afternoon: “25 million French people receive us by DTT, of which 10 million have no other possibility. Who is ready to deprive this public of our programs?”

“More beautiful life”

Xavier Niel assured that he wanted to rely on “a different model, significant investments” in creation and to have “a great ambition for information”. First commitment for this channel that he wants to call SIX: “the first part of the evening, the” prime time “, will never start after 9:00 p.m.”.

The boss of Free has also undertaken to broadcast “more original French creations in prime time”, devoting two evenings a week to it: “You have to have great ambition, put the means into it”. He also announced that he was in advanced negotiations with the producer Newen (TF1 group) to put the soap opera “Plus belle la vie” back on the air, stopped by France Télévisions last year.

The billionaire, very present in the press (group Le Monde, Nice-Matin, L’informé), explained that he wanted to create “a real identified media”, with two slices of information per day of an hour and a half each, produced by an editorial staff of 200 journalists. “In general, platforms and social networks plunder TV content. We want to do the opposite, we want to plunder the audience of social networks to bring them back to this new channel”, pleaded Xavier Niel . His project is carried by the company NJJ Project 5523, a subsidiary of his personal holding company.


For his part, Nicolas de Tavernost, head of the M6 ​​group for 23 years, highlighted the chain’s compliance with its “legal and contractual obligations”, as well as its good financial health. “We are different,” he said, noting that the channel would continue to develop a variety of formats and programs, including a daily soap opera. “We have plenty of surprises in store for you for the next ten years,” assured Nicolas de Tavernost, a few months after the failure of the merger project between M6 and TF1 in September.

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On paper, the outgoing project leaves with a head start, with its 36 years of presence on TNT, facing the troublemaker Xavier Niel. It is indeed difficult to imagine that M6 could stop purely and simply on DTT, even if it can in theory continue on all the other channels (streaming and satellite), or even postpone part of its programming on its other channels of the TNT (W9, 6ter, Paris Première and Gulli).

For its part, TF1, now headed by Rodolphe Belmer, defended its project in line with its previous commitments, with an emphasis on French fiction, entertainment and the development of audiences on its digital platform.