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M6 Nicolas De Tavernost Talks French Competition Laws & Streaming

Nicolas de Tavernost, the outgoing boss of M6, did not hold back today during what will likely be his last on-stage appearance after a near-40-year career with The Traitors France network.

De Tavernost used his Series Mania keynote to slam the French competition laws that prevented M6’s merger with TF1, while urging “collective measures” to improve local streamers in France.

Addressing the merger around 18 months after it collapsed due to regulators, de Tavernost said the law restricting consolidation in France is “a bit absurd.”

“When you see mergers in other parts of the world and here in France we won’t be able to do it because we are restricted by laws it is frustrating,” he added. “I am totally in favor of consolidation but it hasn’t so far been possible with TF1.”

He criticized French laws for being “not well drafted and having the wrong consequences,” which have stymied the potential “evolution of the sector.”

The merger would have created a broadcasting giant fit to take on the likes of Netflix and Disney+ in France, the two parties had argued, but it was scotched in September 2022 after the pair appeared in front of the French Competition Authority, and they heavily criticized the authority at the time.

RTL-owned M6 is, however, soon to launch its streamer M6+. De Tavernost echoed calls from TF1 boss Rodolphe Belmer earlier today that networks across France should “invest in streaming” and there should be “collective measures to expand streaming services, to take them forward.”

He pointed to soon-to-launch UK offering Freely, a live TV broadband platform backed by all major British broadcasters. “British people showed us the way but we missed a step there,” said de Tavernost.

Last month, the exec announced he would be leaving in April after a near-40-year career with M6 that saw him promoted to his current role 15 years ago.

De Tavernost cited two reasons for departing now rather than the previously planned summer 2025 date: one being that he has a “competent skilled team” below him led by replacement David Larramendy, and the other being that M6 has just renewed its license and will soon launch the streamer. “I am certain this new team will be able to meet next year’s challenges,” he said.

De Tavernost revealed that he has already postponed his exit twice over the past few years and was asked to be France Télévisions President in 2010.

Reflecting on his best moments at the helm of the commercial net, he pointed to “surprising” the nation with French Big Brother adaptation Loft Story in 2001, before joking that this was also his worst moment due to the “management” of the show.

He was speaking at Series Mania after Belmer and prior to France Télévisions boss Delphine Ernotte Cunci. Warner Bros. Discovery’s JB Perrette will see things out later today at the Lille event.

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