On February 15, 2022, Xavier Niel, the boss of the Iliad group, presented the SIX project to ARCOM. This new national TV channel aims to replace M6, and to revolutionize TV as Free did with telecoms. An entire program.
Xavier Niel has never hidden his ambitions in the field of television. Already in 2021, the boss of Free had expressed his desire to buy M6, alongside the Arnault group. But finally, the thing had not happened. In December 2022, ARCOM launched a call for applications for the edition of two digital terrestrial television services (DTT) with a national vocation, full-time and in high definition.
As part of this appeal, TF1 and M6 were therefore required to defend their record with ARCOM. The aim is to convince the institution and to obtain authorizations to continue broadcasting their programs on the frequencies they occupy after May 5, 2023, the expiry date of the contracts.
Frequencies of the TNT which belong to the State it should be recalled. In this specific context, ARCOM “grants authorizations by assessing the interest of each project for the public, with regard to the priority imperatives which are the safeguarding of the pluralism of currents of socio-cultural expression, the diversification of operators, and the need to avoid abuses of dominant position”.
Xavier Niel presents his SIX project at ARCOM
If TF1 was the only candidate for his succession, M6 found itself against all odds facing a competitor to obtain the right to broadcast on channel 6 of DTT. This is the SIX project, a brand new TV channel championed and founded by Xavier Niel. With this new entity, the boss of Free wants to offer a channel combining “TV professionals and social media”:
“My concern is that there will no longer be any innovation and that television, as we know it, will disappear, and that for our young people, our children, it will be replaced by platforms, social networks, controlled by operators in the United States, and potentially in China”, said the billionaire. During this hearing, the boss of Free sent a well-felt tackle to M6, assuring that “those who made television no longer believe in television”.
Also to read : M6 has only one month left to find a buyer after the failure of the merger with TF1
A channel focused on news and fiction
In his speech, Xavier Niel also denounced the behavior of current channels“who are content to aim for commercial targets”. With the SIX project, he wants to create “a major generalist medium addressing everyone, putting the viewer before everything else, before the advertiser, and which does not confine the viewer”.
To do this, the SIX project would first put focus on information, with two 90-minute slots each day at 12 p.m. and 7 p.m. To do this, an editorial team made up of more than 200 journalists would be gradually constituted by the end of 2024. With a watchword in the processing of information: independence. Always in this idea of putting the viewer back in the center, Xavier Niel promises the end of advertising tunnels before prime time programs (1st evening part).
Fiction would represent the channel’s other flagship component. Here again, the stated ambitions are substantial: become number 3 in France in the creation of original works for free TV, just behind TF1 and France Télévisions. To do this, Xavier Niel promises to invest 12.5% of turnover of the channel in the production of French fiction and documentaries (M6 is currently at 11.5%). Anyway, these are very nice promises from the troublemaker of the net. It remains to be seen whether or not these arguments won over ARCOM. The answer in a few weeks when the frequencies are allocated.
Source : ARCOM