Monday, October 24, 2016

For the Court of auditors, France Télévisions is in a “financial emergency” – The World

A report, published on Monday, refers to ” a reorganization inaboutie “, ” a management insufficiently rigorous “. And it calls for a ” reduction of expenses “

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For the Court of accounts, the reduction in advertising revenues imposed by Nicolas Sarkozy, coupled with the limitation of public funding, despite an easing in 2016 and 2017, have placed the company in a situation of

” A reorganization inaboutie “, ” management is insufficiently rigorous “ and ” the financial situation is fragile “ : this is the judgment, severus, that the Court of auditors focuses on France Télévisions at the end of the period, 2009-2015, which corresponds essentially to the mandate of Rémy Pflimlin. Published Monday, October 24, his report provides a review of the action of the former president, but it is also addressed to his successeure, Delphine Ernotte, since it makes recommendations for a better management of the public company.

in The eyes of the magistrates of the Rue Cambon, better management equals control of costs, particularly wages and salaries. The reduction in advertising revenues, imposed by Nicolas Sarkozy, coupled with the limitation of public funding, despite an easing in 2016 and 2017, have placed the company in a situation of” financial emergency “ which ” the only way out (…) pass by a significant reduction of expenses “, according to the summary document of the report.

Read also : Rémy Pflimlin : “Under my tenure, the company has dramatically changed,”

It was precisely the main objective of the’” single enterprise “, this fusion process is internal, which marked the years Pflimlin, even if he himself was not the initiator. The result has been disappointing, according to the magistrates, who felt that this merger with ” has not been accompanied by sufficient efforts of mutualisation, including helping to streamline support functions, including staff numbers have not declined, “

” there is a serious Risk of slippage financial “

Another effect that unfinished of the’” single enterprise “ : the merger of the editorial offices of national.

” If progress has been made on the technical level, the pooling of resources and the organization streamlined, which should result have not always been carried out “, writes the Court, which reminds us that the numbers of journalists increased 6 % over the period studied, a 5-531 full-time equivalents (FTE). A trend that the recent establishment of the information chain in continuous Franceinfo, which is determined by Mme Ernotte, has not held back : ” Led to ” the forced march, this innovative project – which cost in a full year will not be known until 2017 – this (…) a serious risk of slippage financial “, warn the judges.

In total, the Court notes that ” the personnel expenses were (…) registered an increase of 13 % between 2009 and 2015 “, despite two voluntary redundancy schemes. The number of permanent positions has been reduced to 9 932 FTE. But the employment non-permanent remain ” inadequately controlled “.

in Addition to the payroll, it is the control of expenditure in general that the Court found it deficient, due to a lack of financial management and weak internal control. The sector of “purchasing programs” is specially referred to : ” The Court finds that the situation is critical “, given a bad application of the rules of competition, or even, in some cases, a lack of ethics. The current management, however, has worked to improve the situation. According to her, in thirty-nine markets that were a problem, only two remain to be put in order. The company is also a deputy for the services of a compliance officer, Laure Haguenauer, who is working on drafting a charter of ethics.

” Actions much more vigorous in order to identify structural savings “

The difficulty in reducing the current expenses of the company has led the team Pflimlin, according to the Court, to reduce the program budget, a line item has decreased by 56 million euros between 2011 and 2015 (to 5.1 %). the ” In an environment where investment in content is crucial (…), it is not certain that this arbitration (…) is the most appropriate way of preparing for the future “, consider the judges. A point strongly disputed by Mr. Pflimlin, to which this decline was mainly on flow programs, and has not injured the viewers.

The magistrates insist on the path that remains ahead for the company so of his ” financial emergency “ – marked in particular by a negative cash flow for 2015 – and ” finds an economic model that is robust, “. In the beginning of the presidential campaign, at a time when several reports have already focused on the future of France Télévisions, and while the culture commission of the Senate comes to judge the budgetary prospects of the company non-convincing, and therefore, this report is also a stone in the garden of Delphine Ernotte, president since August 2015.

The Court thus considers that the company should ” take action far more vigorous than those which have been taken so far to generate structural savings. “The current team has launched some of these approaches : the new contract of objectives and means (COM) provides a return to the balance of the operating income, a savings plan has provided for the non-replacement of one out of every two people who retire, and the company seeks to develop new recipes.

Read also : France Télévisions will reduce its workforce

Simplify the regional network

The judges are pushing to go further. They target in particular the regional network of France 3, they call to simplify, aligning it on the new map of regions – this is committed to – and in the close of the France Bleu network of Radio France. More broadly, they believe that salvation is the budget of France Télévisions will come from the development of its cooperation with other enterprises of the public audiovisual sector.

Still, the difficulties of the company are not of its own doing. In its summary, the Court does not spare the State, including the strategic guidelines, over the period studied, ” were not clear enough “. the ” The framing of medium-term financial of the company is revealed erratic “, still decries the Court, with reference in particular to the reversal of 2012, which saw the State not to honor the allocations, on which he was engaged. The Court also recalls that only an evolution of the regulations, allowing the company to further produce in-house and better exploit its works, can transform the economic equation. A good understander…


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