PARIS: Television adspend levels in France fell by 5%, to €2.4 billion ($3.4bn; £2.1bn), on an annual basis in the first four-and-a-half months since the introduction of a ban on advertising on the country's three public channels in the evening, Yacast says.

The French government approved plans to phase out advertising on public TV stations last year, beginning with a prohibition after 20:00, although Yacast warned that the economic downturn makes it difficult analyse the true impacts of this decision as yet.

Among the country's commercial broadcasters, TF1 saw ad revenues fall 14% year-on-year, with M6 also down by 6%, while Canal+ enjoyed an upturn of 30% for the period from 5 January to 24 May 2009.

TF1's figures actually revealed a gradual improvement over the period assessed, from a decline of 19% in January to a loss of 7% in April.

By daypart, the channel's negative growth peaked at 19% before the start of the daily ad ban on public stations, falling to 9% after that time.

M6 also posted a decrease of 8% in three of the four full months studied by Yacast, the exception being a drop off of 3% in February, while Canal+ saw ad sales after 20:00 rise by 35%, compared with an increase of 21% during the rest of the day.

FR2, one of the country's three public channels, increased the number of ads it broadcast during the authorised period by 10%, although FR3 and FR5 posted volume declines of 5% and 8% respectively on this measure.

Among the other measured media, radio adspend rose 9% and newspaper ad sales were up by 10% from January to May, while magazines were down by 4%, and cinema by 2%.

By contrast, France's ten digital terrestrial television channels posted revenue growth of 66% in this period.

Data sourced from Yacast; additional content by WARC staff