A month placed under the sign of the war in Ukraine. After the offensive launched by Vladimir Putin’s Russia against Ukraine on February 24, French viewers saw the month of March monopolized by this strong news, while the channels had to carry the campaign to the presidential election, either with fixed appointments or with special events. In this particular context, the four French news channels recorded their historical monthly audience share. However, according to Médiamétrie, viewing time has decreased in a year, with an average of 3h35 per day in front of the television for people aged 4 and over, compared to 3h57 the previous year.
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The Altice group passes in front of Canal+
With a market share of 28.9% last month, France Télévisions remains the leading audiovisual group. Note that this average also includes France 4, whose audiences are no longer measured daily, unlike last year around the same time. Behind, the TF1 group lost 1.2 points in one year, for a PDA of 26.6% over the entire public, followed by the M6 group, with 13.7% (-0.9 points in one year, stable in a year). At the foot of the podium, driven by strong news, the Altice group, with the flagship BFMTV, jumped to 8.0% market share, for the largest increase in a year (+1.8), as in a month ( +1.1), all groups combined. Patrick Drahi’s group even has the luxury of being ahead of Canal+ which, with an audience share of 7.3% for its four channels, is up 0.5 points compared to March 2021.
In the details of the channels, after its historic low recorded last month, TF1 is picking up some colors. The channel was followed by 18.6% of the public last month. It marks the strongest decrease of the chains in a year (-1.9 points) but timidly advances 0.2 points in a month. In the target of women in charge of purchases under 50 years of age (FRDA-50), 22.3% of housewives are present (-0.5 points over one year).
Among the successes of the month, the first channel can boast of having achieved the best score of the season for political prime time with the broadcast of “La France face à la guerre”, which brought together 8 presidential candidates -including Emmanuel Macron- with 4.21 million viewers in front of their screens. The series “Balthazar” with Tomer Sisley made a solid, albeit declining, comeback, airing on March 17 in front of an average of 5.33 million fans (27.0% 4+ and 24.7% FRDA- fifty). And on April 3, the last day taken into account for this monthly Médiamat, the box office acted thanks to the first broadcast of “What have we done to God again?”, offering TF1 its best score for a night of Sunday from December 2018.
The disappointments of the month of March are particularly named “Clem”, whose season 12 release reached an all-time low, or “Les enfoirés”. The benefit concert attracted less than 8 million French people in audience. Performance at its lowest level since… 1995.
Card for rugby in France 2, clearance for Nagui
France 2 remains stable for a year with a market share of 14.3% (-0.1 points). This month, the network enjoyed the best prime time audience of the year to date with the impressive line-up of the Six Nations Tournament France/England, which thrilled 8.95 million followers (38.9% of 4+ and 40.0% FRDA-50). A historical record for the Blues. In another record, on Monday night the launch of the miniseries “The island of 30 coffins” was successfully crowned, placing itself at the head of the audience. Same observation for the unit “Sons of the righteous” on March 23 in front of 5.5 million viewers. On access, vigilance is still required to “Don’t forget the lyrics.” The program presented by Nagui and accustomed to the leading role in 4+ saw how “Tomorrow belongs to us” regained strength in this area some afternoons. Example on March 25 where the gap between the two competitors was only 2,000 followers!
France 3 and M6 are tied, with a market share of 8.9% each. But the public service channel recorded a less pronounced drop in its market share for a year (-0.2 points compared to -0.6 points for its private rival). At la Trois, the public was present for the launch of the new judicial series “Face à face” or for the return of the unpublished “Cassandre” on April 2 with 4.54 million followers. On the other hand, in the early afternoon, the daily series “Plus belle la vie” again showed signs of weakness, falling below 10% market share several times and reaching its lowest point of the season on 2 March ahead of only 8.8% of the public.
“Beijing express” rejected by viewers
In M6, if the “Forbidden Zone” team was able to celebrate breaking a record of 15 years in the main commercial objective, with a number in the Disneyland Paris park, another historical brand, “Pékin express”, has suffered the blow of not being able to return above 2 million faithful on Thursday afternoons throughout the month of March. On the other hand, the channel can expect serene Mondays in prime time for the next few weeks, thanks to the power of its docu-reality “Married at First Sight”. Same observation for the second part of the evening “And if we meet?” ; two shows returned to the air on March 21.
In fifth position, a sign that the news has altered the hierarchy of the channels, BFMTV made a dazzling advance with an increase of 1.7 points in one year for a market share of 4.5%. A historical record. During the week of February 28 to March 6, a few days after the start of the war in Ukraine, channel 15 even brought together an average of 5.8% of people aged 4 and over. All of its competitors also had their best audience share of the month during this famous week with, for example, 2.7% audience share ahead of CNews.
As mentioned above, the other news channels also posted historic performance: 2.3% for CNews in March; 1.8% for LCI and 1.2% for franceinfo. The public service channel, accustomed to occupying the last place in the ranking, returns to position 19. The children’s channel Gulli inherits the ballast of the least watched channel of the month, tied with Canal+ and NRJ 12, but drops 0.1 point in a month.