Just as StudioCanal is scaling back its European film production and distribution operations, TF1 seems to be intent on increasing its activity and filling the void.

After boldly branching out into distribution through its as yet unamed joint venture with Miramax - which is expected to be headed by Jose Covo - the broadcaster is understood to be seeking to step up its involvement in film production, co-production and co-financing.

This activity will be separate from the TF1/Miramax venture, and it is likely to be headed by UGC International's Patrick Binet.

The production operation sounds very similar in ambition to StudioCanal. It would already have a strong production partner in France in Charles Gassot's Telema , the producer of Tanguy, which TF1, ironically poached from Le StudioCanal.

It would also benefit from a dynamic foreign sales partner in TF1 International, have an associated French distribution outlet as well as a potential US production and distribution partner in Miramax.