Private radio and television stations have only been authorized in France since 1982. In the following 14 years, the number of TV channels jumped from three to over 30.
The independence of the media – from political pressure in particular – is managed by an independent administrative body as is the case in the United States and Canada called the Conseil supÃˆrieur de l’audiovisuel
In 1995, French people spent an average of 3 hours and 40 minutes a day watching television (which compares to only 36 minutes spent reading the press).
<!–^~^23|left|Poivre d’Arvor, One of France’s most notorious anchorman^~^–>In addition to some 20 cable channels there are seven television stations broadcasting on the air in France. Four are a part of the public sector and are financed by government subsidies (through special taxes) and by advertising: these are France 2, France 3, the Franco-German channel Arte and La CinquiÃ‹me (the Fifth).
Three are private: TF1 and M6, both financed by private shareholders and funded only by advertising revenues, and Canal Plus, a scrambled channel for fee-paying subscribers (user fee is around 150 francs or $30 a month), which is also partially financed by commercials.
In addition to these seven channels, some 250 French and foreign stations are available in France by cable or satellite systems such as La TÃˆlÃˆvision Par Satellite – TPS. Approximate one million homes are equipped with parabolic antennas while 1,9 million are linked to cable.
Viewers all over the nation gather around their television sets for the daily TF1 and France 2 8:00 p.m. news broadcasts.
Today, among the most important specialized channels are: Canal Jimmy for the fans of the 1960’s and 1970’s; PlanÃ‹te for documentaries and current events; CinÃˆ CinÃˆmas a station dedicated to movies, Eurosport; MCM (music); and LCI (La ChaÃ“ne Info), France’s first continuous-news station, set up in June 1994.
In addition, TV5, a multilateral French-language television channel broadcast to 40 million homes in Europe, the Mediterranean basin, Africa and North and South America and Asia through satellite and cable networks. Founded in 1984, it associates the French public broadcasting sector (France 2, France 3, SOFIRAD, the Institut national de l’audiovisuel) and Swiss, Belgian, Canadian and Quebec public television.