Audience of advertising agencies and channels in France

I. Who are the main audiences for TV in France?

In France, in 2018 93.4% of households are equipped with a television.

Media adored by French people but far from being the only one since, on average, each household has 6.5 screens (TV, computers, game consoles, tablets, video players, mobile phones).

Statistics also forecast 7.1 screens per household for 2020; as many screens capable of connecting and accessing the same content as those available on TV.

The French are attached to this traditional media and for good reason, in 2018 the average price of televisions amounted to € 463, representing an increase of 4% compared to 2017.


Source : Les + de la TV 2019 – Le guide du SNPTV 


II. But who benefits from this purchase? The best audiences of channels and advertising agencies

The French spend on average of 3:40 a day in front of their television. Almost 43.1 million viewers watch television every day on a TV set including 4.5 million on Internet screens in 2018. This average has increased by 34 minutes in 20 years. Indeed, in 1998, the average TV audience was estimated at 3.06 hours per day. However, it must considered that during these 20 years several performances have been added to this measure: 

  •        In 2011 we start to count the audience of programmes viewed after basis through a personal recording.
  •        In 2014, we start to count the programs seen in replay 

Today, television is an integral part of the daily life of households and of all marketing targets: we can take several concrete examples from 2019 to demonstrate this attachment since the “CSP+”[1] spend on average 2:40 in front of their television, “RDA”[2] women under 50 years old spend an average of 3:08 in front of their small screen while the 50 years and over, spend them, 5:12 in front of their posts. (please see the table below)

[1] French nomenclature meaning affluent consumers

[2] Another French nomenclature meaning “family purchase manager”

Etude Médiamétrie

Concerning the distribution of the audience over the year: not surprisingly, it falls over the summer months and reaches its peak over the winter months. The average audience measured between November and February was 3:56, while between June and September it was 3:16.


III. Let’s look at which TV companies are carving out the lion’s share of the advertising attention pie.

(A short recap ’of TV advertising agencies in France → article link)

Year after year, the audience share of the historical hertzian channels[1] is decreasing and is even losing nearly 14% of audience shares between 2009 and 2018. This difference in audience share is split between the free DTT channels (2005 channel base)[2]reaching 21.3% and the new format emerging in 2012-2013: the HD DTT channels (2012 channel base)[3] reaching 9.3% audience share in 2018.

[1] Historical Hertzian channels: TF1, France 2, France 3, Canal+, France 5, M6 et Arte

[2] TNT 2005 channels: C8, W9, TMC, TFX, NRJ12, LCP, France 4, BFM TV, CNews, CStar, Gulli, France Ô

[3] HD TNT 2012 channels: TF1 Séries Films, L’Equipe 21, 6ter, RMC Story (ex Numéro 23), RMC Découverte, Chérie 25

It's the national channel TF1 which ranks at the top of the audience share ranking in 2019 with 19.5%, followed by France 2 with 13.9% then France 3 with 9.3% of audience share. M6 ranks 4th with 8.9% audience share.

As in 2018, games and sports programs attract the most viewers. Indeed, the major sporting events are strongly followed by the French, we also find at the top of the ranking the matches of the women's world cup of football accumulating on average 44.6% of audience share. 

A relatively similar ranking over the past 10 years.

Etude CNC 2018

If you are wondering what media strategies to adopt and need advice do not hesitate, we are here to help.


Regarding thematic channels:

A study carried out on 8 themes allows us to observe that in 2018 the most represented theme is the youth category, since it is available on almost 19 different channels. Documentary category following with 17 channels.

The fiction and adolescent categories are the least represented with 8 and 3 channels respectively.


However, the theme with the largest audience share is the generalist category with 2.5% audience share (PDA), followed by the youth category with 2% PDA and the cinema category with 1.9% PDA.

In terms of ratio, the category that wins is the general theme with a ratio of 0.23% of PDA per channel.


The most successful thematic channels:

We find in top thematic:

-        Généralist channel: TV Breizh               (of the advertising agency: TF1 PUB)

-        Sport channel: BeIN Sport 1                 (of the advertising agency: BeIN Régie)

-        Documentary channel: Planète + CI      (of the advertising agency: Canal+ brand Solutions)

-        Cinema channel: Canal+ Family            (of the advertising agency: Canal+ brand Solutions)

-        Youth channel: Disney Chanel             (of the advertising agency: Disneymedia+)

-        Adolescent channel: Game One            (of the advertising agency: Viacom CBS)

-        Music channel: NRJ Hits                       (of the advertising agency: NRJ Global)

-        Fiction channel: 13ème Rue                   (of the advertising agency: France TV publicité)


It's therefore Canal + brand Solutions that stands out, with 2 channels at the top of the cinema and documentary rankings.

The youth theme is led by the Disneymedia + (advertissing agency of the Walt Disney Company group). Finally, for the generalist category, thematic with the greatest success: it's TV Breizh which dominates owned by the TF1 PUB.


There are a multitude of channels on which to communicate to reach your audience. It is essential to know your communication objectives and your budget to choose the most relevant channels for your media strategy and the development of your media plan.

At Adintime this is what we do every day. Feel free to post your brief here if you wish to speak to us about it..


 Sources : Mediametrie, CNC


Written by Marine Collet 

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