Ratings Roundup: Hollywood Rules French Digital Terrestrial Hit Parade


PREMIUM: American movies dominated the top of the ratings for DTT channels in 2012, taking 11 places among the 20 biggest audiences, including four of the top five.

Digital terrestrial television has continued to gain viewers in France, but the growth of audience share slowed a bit during the past year. Number one of the year was The Bodyguard on TF1-owned TMC, with over 2.069 million viewers and a 7.5-percent audience share.

The audience share of the free-TV channels available on DTT exceeded 21 percent for the first time in 2012 with most homes now having access to the channels. However, the increase in viewing share from 2011 was only 0.4 percent versus 2.9 percent between the previous years.

TMC ranked as the fifth channel nationally in 2012 with a 3.6-percent market share, behind TF1 (22.7 percent), France 2 (14.9 percent), M6 (11.2 percent) and France 3 (9.7 percent), according to Médiametrie. Public DTT channel France 5 was sixth with 3.5 percent and W9 was seventh with 3.2 percent.

TMC had 10 of the 20 biggest audiences, followed by W9, owned by M6, with five. NT1 (also owned by TF1) had two, and NRJ 12 (part of the NRJ radio group), children’s channel Gulli (a partnership of Lagardère Active and France Télévisions) and public channel France 4 took one each.

There were no fiction series, imported or domestic, represented among the biggest ratings winners.

The one format to crack the list was Endemol’s Star Academy, which NRJ12 re-launched in 2012. The French version ran on TF1 for eight seasons until it was scratched in 2008. It hit a high in 2012 of 1.652 million viewers and a 7.1-percent market share.

Other Hollywood pictures in the top five were Pretty Woman (number three with 1.871 million viewers) and Armageddon (fourth/1.855 milion), while others enjoying Top 20 success were The Bourne Supremacy (fifth/1.844 million), Jurassic Park 3, The Happening, I Am Legend, U.S. Marshals, Mission Impossible 3, Monster-in-Law and Lethal Weapon.

Two French features also made the list, Les visiteurs 2 and 1962 children’s film La guerre des boutons (War of the Buttons), remade in English in 1994 and again in French in 2011 as La nouvelle guerre des boutons.

There are currently about 20 DTT channels available nationally in France at no charge, and about 40 local stations.