In the frontline of information

01.04.2020, France, Groupe M6

More interactivity, fighting fake news, protecting its editorial teams. This is how Groupe M6 pulls all stops across TV, radio, internet to keep audiences informed – with massive growth in ratings and usage.

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Our broadcasting news teams are working around the clock and pulling all stops to keep millions of people – who face unprecedented disruptions to their daily lives – informed about the coronavirus developments. Backstage has launched a special series acknowledging the great work that these teams are doing, not only for the continuity of our business, but also to deliver credible information. Independent media companies such as RTL Group are part of a country’s critical infrastructure. Our TV channels, radio stations, streaming services and websites currently register significantly higher reach and usage. We have kicked off this new series with the strong ratings in Germany and now we continue with the great work done by the Groupe M6 colleagues.

Under the current coronavirus situation, the newsrooms at M6 and RTL Radio (France) adapted their programming, increased the interactivity opportunities with their audience, strengthened their efforts in the battle against fake news – and all this having as first priority the safety and health of their teams both in the field and in the newsrooms. We give the floor to them to explain how they face this new reality.    

Groupe M6 reporting on coronavirus crisis has generated massive growth in ratings and usage. Since the beginning of the lockdown, the M6 news bulletin Le 1245 has recorded the highest audience growth (+90 per cent), the evening news bulletin of M6, Le 19 45, has achieved its best monthly ratings in seven years (3.4 million), while the online news coverage of RTL Radio (RTL.fr) also set an all-time audience record (+57 per cent visits compared to the previous year).

Jacques Esnous

Jacques Esnous, Head of the RTL Radio (France) Editorial Office, outlines how RTL Radio has modified its daily programming to be even more relevant to its listeners: “Given the current situation, we have changed the programming with three main news focal areas as of 05:00 every day. We reinforced our interactivity with our listeners who need to express themselves more than ever and we also gave voice to numerous scientific guests who shared their expertise on major issues raised by this crisis. We have also set up a team called ‘coronavirus Brigade’ composed of our specialised journalists from our medical, economic, social, political and foreign desks to answer listeners' questions live. Without saying all this with an emphasis on the hunt for fake news. In a nutshell, our programmes have therefore been profoundly reworked throughout the day, even creating a special programme from 20:00 to 22:00.

Regarding the editorial staff, we have considerably reorganised the editorial processes in line with medical advice to protect against Covid-19 and cases affecting the editorial staff. In 48 hours, the vast majority of the editorial team was working from home, and working methods were modified: masks, booms for outdoor interviews, personal headsets on microphones for journalists, editorial conferences via the Zoom app to avoid personal contact.”

Stéphane Gendarme

Stéphane Gendarme, Head of News for the M6 Channel, highlights: “Like every newsroom, we are confronted with something we didn't expect. Something that affects our personal and professional lives. Something we have not faced before.

Our priority is to ensure the safety of our teams. In the field as well as in the newsroom. We have completely reorganised the editorial staff to adapt it to social distancing. Filming has been rethought. Our second objective is to keep our news programmes on air throughout this health crisis. The role of news is now more important than ever. That's why I'm relying on a highly motivated and responsive editorial team that is aware of all these issues.”

Responsible reporting, strong ratings

TV news

The news bulletin of M6, Le 1245, has registered its best ever monthly ratings and its second best monthly total audience share: 11.9 per cent, representing 1.9 million viewers.

The Sunday 22 March 2020 edition of Le 1245 achieved its best ratings ever with 2.8 million viewers tuning in (peaking at 3.3 million).

The Thursday 26 March 2020 edition achieved its best ratings ever and the biggest total audience for a weekday edition (13.8 per cent, representing 2.6 million viewers aged 4+)

Since the beginning of the lockdown, Le 1245 has recorded the highest audience growth (+90 per cent).

The evening news bulletin of M6, Le 19 45, has recorded its best monthly ratings in seven years (3.4 million).

Digital radio:

Digital live audiences: +18 per cent live audience growth for RTL Radio (France) during the week of 16 March.

RTL.fr's news coverage also set an all-time audience record (+57 per cent more visits than the previous year).

 

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