Speech of Olivier Schrameck
Ladies and gentlemen Senators,
Ladies and gentlemen Deputies,
Ladies and gentlemen presidents and presidents, chief executive officers and chief executive officers,
Ladies and gentlemen,
I accommodate you here, with as much pleasure than of interest, for these Assizes of the Radio, organized jointly by the ministry for the culture and the communication and the Superior council of the audio-visual one.
It is in front of professionals of the radio, the independent ones of the SIRTI, that I for the first time expressed myself publicly; and I am happy of being able to do it, six months later, in front of the whole family gathered of the radio.
We expect all much this day: the ministry, with which we maintain a collaboration supported to promote the vitality and the success of our media and cultural industries; and the authority of regulation that I chair, within which Patrice Gélinet accompanies with a constant commitment and a great experiment, the sector of the radio.
But it is yourselves, the radios and the whole of your partners, in particular the producers and advertisers, who are in the middle of these Assizes. They are yours; and I very cordially thank you for coming to discuss future of these so expensive media in the middle of our compatriots.
I will hesitate to affirm from the start only no other media that the radio does not combine better universality, proximity and diversity.
Universality, since the radio key daily more than eight French out of ten, who listen to it on average nearly three hours per day. I cannot speak here about universality without greeting Marie-Christine Saragosse and, through it, Radio France Internationale, which offers all to the French-speaking people throughout the world free and independent information, and thinking with much emotion of Ghislaine Dupont and Claude Verlon who paid of their life this essential mission.
I express also my solidarity with all those which them trade and their vocation put in the test, in particular Didier François and Edouard Elias d' Europe 1 like Nicolas Hénin and Pierre Torres.
The radio, it is as much the proximity, illustrated by this some 14 million French who rise each morning to the sound of their morning favorite. This force of gathering, the radio draws it from a generally free access but also very largely mobile: displacements in the car represent nearly a third of the audience.
Diversity, finally, is incarnated by the number of the operators - 858 with the last calculation - and the variety of their dimensions, their economic models and their choices leading. This diversity is nourished multiple initiatives emanating local actors, associative or independent and large groups, who draw a plentiful and single offer in Europe, within which the public service occupies a determining place.
But the radio, it is also an economic wealth to which contribute more than 17,000 people and who represents close de1,6 billion euros of turnover in 2011, according to the abundant data by recent “the Panorama of culture industries and creative”; an economy which sees to open in front of it new fields of growth and innovation and which is today at a crucial stage of its development.
The radio is indeed confronted with new challenges. Its face changed much since the advent of the freedom of the audio-visual communication, there is now more than thirty years.
Initially because it runs up from now on against the constraint of a double scarcity : that of the frequency resources but also that of the advertising financings.
The margins of development of FM are, indeed, naturally narrower than at the time of first independant local radio stations where all was to be built.
Admittedly, as I had underlined in front of the independent ones of the radio, the CSA has the concern of extending the cover of the radio operator FM. The FM plan + made it possible to release, between 2006 and 2011, more than 1,300 new frequencies, are an increase of more than 22% of the exploitable spectrum.
For as much, the efforts of our direction of technologies, territorial committees of audio-visual and operators themselves do not enable us, far from it, to satisfy all the wishes: we received in 2012 more than 1,350 requests and, if we delivered more than 400 authorizations in 2013, the majority corresponds to renewals.
With this scarcity of the hertzian resources is added a contraction of the advertising markets of the radio, which, even if it is necessary to hope in the confirmation of a renewal, will have reached in 2012 their low level since 1999, in constant euros. The economic crisis does not only explain to it this reduction in the receipts, which is also due to major causes, and in particular a substitution effect to the profit of digital publicity.
But precisely, the radio can find in new spaces of digital the ways of a true revival.
As the study which will be presented at the beginning of afternoon will show it, the access modes to the radio were deeply modified these last years by the development of the digital diffusion. I think of course, initially, with the terrestrial digital radio, on which I will have the opportunity of returning in a few moments. But I also think of the radio on IP, the computers and, more still, of the mobile terminals, new supports which represent from now on more than 10% of the audience of the radio.
The digital diffusion makes it possible to the editors to be freed from the constraint of scarcity of the frequencies and to the advertisers to increase the effectiveness of their advertisements. It constitutes a ground favourable with promising developments which aim at a more rational use of the band-width.
The digital one, it is also the multiplication of the editions bi--media and the development of a multiplicity of services supporting delinearized listening, personalization and the interactivity with the programs: the radio in streaming since the websites or the portable applications of the editors, the baladodiffusion (with nearly 600,000 podcasts downloaded each day in France), the filmed radio or the social radio.
But this technological turning is not only source of new faculties for the editors of radio: it is also carrying new competitions and new challenges, to which the radio must adapt, as much as the regulation which is applicable for him.
To illustrate new competitions, I will take the example of the musical radios. For ten years indeed, their audience and more still their listening time has recorded a significant retreat. There is no doubt that the rise of new musical services is one of the causes of this retreat: there exists between the offer of musical radio and the offer of on line music, increasingly éditorialisée and personalized, an obvious porosity, a “substitutability” would say the specialists in the competition law.
However, there is in this competition with the delinearized services an obvious imbalance, a “asymmetry of regulation”, which calls a new reflection on the manner of promoting cultural diversity in the audio-visual mediums. We wait much, in this respect, of the mission entrusted by the Minister to Mr. Bordes, and we are delighted that it aims at studying the exposure of the music in the whole of the media, including digital.
In addition, if the digital one makes it possible to find new outlets, it moves the crucial problems of the access to the listeners on the ground of the distribution, the visibility and referencing. Unlike the model of the FM diffusion, it is characterized by the irruption, in the chain of value, of a new actor, the distributor, which can take multiple faces: Internet access provider, store of applications, or manufacturer of connected terminals equipped with an operating system say “owner”. These new “guards of access” have to play an increasingly crucial part in the exposure and the setting in front of the offers of the editors. It is essential to avoid the development of harmful practices to the pluralism of the offer, such as the ousting of certain services or the restrictions on interworking.
Such are thus, in my eyes, the principal features of our radio operator landscape: a major anchoring in a hertzian model now arrived at maturity and a advance solved towards new spaces of the digital radio.
With these two phenomena two challenges of development and growth correspond which the CSA intends to answer, by a revision of the traditional methods of regulation of the radio and by the projection of this regulation in new digital spaces.
It is a question, through these two orientations, of reinforcing the economic dimension of the regulation, during essential of its sociocultural dimension, with the service of the broad objectives defined by the legislator.
To balance, direct and, if necessary, to correct: thus the goals of the economic regulation could be defined. We are pleased that the relative law with the independence of the audio-visual public posed first stakes in this direction.
Thanks to it, the economic relevance of the allowances of hertzian frequencies could be taken much better into account, through impact studies preliminary to the calls for candidate and the modifications of authorization or convention. Moreover, the CSA will present each year measures which he will have taken pursuant to the rules framing the concentration and will provide a financial statement of the audio-visual companies taking into consideration these rule.
In the prolongation of these welcome installations, it seems essential to me to look further into the reflection on the modernization of our economic regulatory instruments of the sector of the radio. Thus we will be able to fully play our part to be truly - I hope that Jean-Luc Hees will not see an unfair competition there – the House of the radios.
It is necessary for us initially to develop a true economic strategy of stock management, and thus to renovate the two large instruments on which this management rests: calls for candidate for the attribution of the frequencies and the control of the concentration, inseparable from the requirement for diversity.
As regardsthe allowance of the hertzian frequencies, the approach adopted so far can unfortunately be described as marginalist: it consists in for the regulator concentrating on the identification and the attribution of the new frequencies, increasingly rare, without never wondering about the economic relevance of what exists, which results from the succession of the former decisions.
It is important from now on to substitute for this approach a logic of optimal management of the spectrum. For that, we must make evolve our methods, with an aim of offering to the public a diversified service and of quality, and with the operators a balanced and fertile economic environment.
Our policy of research of the frequencies must rest more on the analysis, by basin of audience, of the requirements and waitings of the operators and the users, by consulting them and by supporting us on the expertise on the territorial committees of the audio-visual one; it must also fall under a multiannual approach offering to our partners a greater visibility. We need, within the limit of our means, to search new frequencies where it needs it most there, i.e. where it appears necessary to provide to the public more diversified offer, where the market suffers from an imbalance, there still where the arrival of a new operator would be particularly advantageous with the public and the dynamism of the territory.
Our method of attribution of the frequencies must also evolve. After dialogue of the whole of the recipients, if that appears justified, of the proposals could be formulated to clarify, simplify and better treat on a hierarchical basis the defined selection criteria, by stratification of successive legislative modifications, with article 29 of the law of 1986.
The second pillar of the economic regulation of the radio which is the ceiling anti-concentration must also be the object of an overall re-examination and, if necessary, of a modernization.
The reflection on the adaptation of this device leads us to raise several questions. Initially, which is the method of calculating of the cover most adapted to the reality of the uses and respectful of the recommendations of the International union of telecommunications? Then, is it logical that the ceiling is defined once and for all and in absolute value, without taking into account of the demographic trends of the country?
But more basically, one can wonder whether the criterion of the cover is always adequate, per hour when the radio develops on IP, whose audience is forced only by the number of hearths connected to the Internet and extends beyond the national borders. Lastly, is the national approach of the concentration completely relevant, whereas the economy of the radio is very mainly structured by local basins of audience?
The Council is not unaware of the sensitivity of these questions, that the debates of this day will probably contribute to clarify; but he considers that the regulation of the concentrations must be with the service of a balanced and perennial growth of the sector and not of a status quo Malthusian, reassuring seemingly but dangerous in the long term. In accordance with the commitment that I had taken before the Parliament, we will adopt from here the end of the year a report on the concentration, which will propose several reform tracks between which it will be up to the legislator to arbitrate.
In this same concern of registering the regulation from an economic developmental perspective of the sector, the restoration of the methods of management of the hertzian spectrum must be accompanied by a projection of this regulation in new spaces of the radio operator media: digital spaces.
For the regulator, to accompany the radio in the conquest by new digital spaces, it is initially to encourage the modernization of the diffusion. I wish to benefit from the occasion which is offered to me here to take stock of the development of the Radio digital terrestrial and on the implementation, by the CSA, from the orientations fixed by the legislator in 2004.
Appeals RNT were launched in three zones which constitute strong basins of audience. I already informed of my personal reserves on the choice of these zones, which does not take sufficiently account, in my eyes, of the challenges of resorption of the radiophonic fracture in the territories badly served by FM.
But in any event, we led to their term the selections in the zones selected: 107 editors, divided on 19 multiplexing, were selected. Last March, 14 of these multiplexings were made up and the failure of the five others, for regrettable that it is, does not call into question the overall operation. Lastly, the date of starting will be communicated very soon, respecting the time of six months preparation envisaged by the authorizations of the editors.
The RNT will be thus a reality in these three important basins of audience and we will be able to then learn the lessons from this exploratory phase.
For as much, the difficulties with which the CSA is confronted in the implementation of the RNT could not be last under silence. We run up initially against the hesitations of the large editors deprived like public, whereas they could play a driving role and structuring: the manufacturers will not be completely decided to invest the French market and the listeners to renew their equipment that if they hope to find on the RNT, not only the various offer and set of themes of the operators independent but still the offer general practitioner and main road of the wide-area networks.
Then, we are confronted with serious legal difficulties, which relate to in particular the extension by five years of the analogical authorizations that the law had envisaged for the benefit of first operators selected for the digital diffusion. It indeed weighs heavy uncertainties on the exact range this no-claims bonus and we were led to ask for on this point a lighting on behalf of the Council of State in order to guarantee the legal security of the operators.
It is finally necessary to usually take account of the impact of the new standard of diffusion + authorized this summer by the Government whereas the existing multiplexings were defined according to standard T-DMB. Of course, the adoption of this standard was expected and it is welcome because it allows a more sparing management of the spectrum; but so on the authorized operators decide to use it, it will be necessary to refit the multiplexings concerned, which supposes the unanimous agreement of their occupants.
On this file as on all the others, the CSA is held with his pragmatic and positive attitude. But, it is necessary to insist there, the choices with a future call clear orientations bound for the radios, equipment suppliers and of the public which are spring of the Parliament.
The report which the CSA will submit to him at the beginning of next year will attach to replace the question of the RNT in the broader problems of the transformation of the modes of diffusion of the radio. Because if the RNT were conceived, ten years ago, like the “little sister of the DVB”, the evolutions since then noted show that the transition digital from the radio, inescapable, borrows from now on several ways of which none must be isolated: satellite, RNT bandages III of them and bandages some L, IP unicast even multicast, networks of par to par… For the RNT, the major stake consists in finding its niche in this diversity of the digital uses of the radio.
To accompany the digital transition from the radio, it is then to cure asymmetries of regulation whose the competitors benefit from the radio which are, more and more, the editors of audio-visual services digital. The convergence of the markets the convergence of the regulations must answer, through flexible and evolutionary processes resting on the dialogue and the negotiation. Thus, for the editors, we must think on the definition and the implementation of their obligations of general interest, in particular as regards support for the French musical creation, to which the role of discovered and regulation of the radios contributes in an essential way. It falls to the legislator but also at the CSA to take care that the requirement for cultural pluralism is a more affirmed vocation than one too rigid constraint.
As for the audio-visual services online, it is a question neither of copying on them a mode conceived for the hertzian radio, that we in addition wish to see re-examined, nor to handicap the French champions of digital in the total competition. In the spirit of the conclusions of the Lescure mission, we must thus privilege free adhesion and balance between the made commitments and the granted counterparts.
To accompany the digital transition from the radio, it is finally to guarantee the access of the radios to their users on the new platforms of distribution, such as the stores which propose portable applications in all kinds and in particular those published by the services of radio.
As well for a healthy and fair competition between your companies as in the interest of the pluralism and the independence of the media, it appears essential to me as the regulation of the audio-visual communications takes account of the central role of these new distributors and attempts to guarantee a nondiscriminatory access to the whole of the large platforms.
These challenges of regulation of the edition and the distribution of digital audio-visual services, that I already had the occasion to underline, I recall them again here by wishing that they be taken into account by the future relative bill with creation. The restoration of our audio-visual regulation should not be conceived starting from realities of yesterday, nor even of today, but according to the uses of tomorrow and even of the day after tomorrow, such as one can reasonably anticipate them.
Thus, the radio could not in my eyes be satisfied with a great tradition; it must be lived like an avant-garde and be confronted, for that, with determining choices. Ces Assises constitute a major occasion to light, by your exchanges and your debates, the desirable orientations to promote the dynamism and the balance of your sector. You can hope on the Superior council of audio-visual to accompany you, by a constant and attentive day before, on the ways of your development, with the service of the whole of the listeners.