France's audiovisual watchdog CSA (Conseil Superieur de l'Audiovisuel) has recommended a partial lift of the current ban on advertising films on television - a move set to radically shake up the French distribution sector.

The policy is part of a new French government legislative programme concerning advertising on television. Although the CSA has prudently stressed that the move should be 'progressive' and involve an agreement between all parties concerned, the move is likely to be controversial.

The advertising ban would still apply to France's national terrestrial broadcasters, but cable and satellite stations would be able to accept film advertising.

Smaller independent distributors, as well as the French talents' lobby groups, have always opposed lifting the ban on the grounds that it would favour the deep-pocketed majors and squeeze smaller French films out of the market. But the largest distributors themselves have not been pushing too hard for a change as their promotional budgets would skyrocket.

Film marketing, which relies heavily on poster advertising, has always been much less costly in France than in equivalent European markets such as the UK and Germany (from 50% up to 100% cheaper).