France 24 Taps Private Seam With Video Ads, While Sarkozy's Public Plan Faces Challenge

France’s multilingual TV news network France 24 is moving to place contextual video ads in its online footage – just as president Sarkozy threatens the channel with remodelling as a state-funded, French-only broadcaster. London- and California-based video search index Blinkx will catalogue the network’s material and place the ads, involving a revenue share.

France 24’s new media director Stanislas Leridon (via release): “This agreement fits into our strategy of syndicating France 24 video programes throughout the world. The number and the nature of the websites affiliated with this company allows us to reinforce the notoriety of France 24 and the visibility of our programs and reports, especially in the US market.”

Shamelessly internationalist, France 24 already has partnerships including Veoh, Revver and YouTube. This shows France 24 at odds with its government on fundamentally philosophical grounds.

Launched out in to the world 13 months ago to jostle internationally with BBC World, CNN International and Al Jazeera English, France 24 has channels in English and Arabic as well as French. But new leader Sarkozy this month vowed to stop taxpayer funding because it does not broadcast exclusively in the mother tongue. Instead, he wants to promote French culture by pooling France 24, TV5 Monde and Radio France Internationale to create France Monde, a French-only service. And he wants to remove ads from existing public-service channels, replacing funds with a tax on internet and mobile access.

But today’s Guardian reports opposition from TV5’s stakeholders. It’s not only the TV networks rubbing up against Sarkozy – the EC media commissioner’s is sceptical of the tax proposal, France’s Senate rejected a tax on web video ad revenue in December and it’s anti-piracy measures are likely to face scrutiny this year.

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