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To GAFAM With Love

Christophe Carugati

22 Dec 2021

To GAFAM with Love is a love story like in Woody Allen’s movies. There is a complex relationship between love and hate in which nobody understands the story, but everyone wants to make it work. “Don't psychoanalyze me! Many have tried. All have failed,” the GAFAM argue. Some interpretations of the story are original, though. In one story, the French competition service investigates the wedding between two major French media companies, TF1 and M6. The wedding would give them tremendous market power in the media and television advertising markets. The situation might oblige the competition service not to celebrate the wedding or, at least partially, to the detriment of the future spouses and the French sovereign. The spouses thus argue they must merge because GAFAM threaten them. In GAFAM we love.

TF1, the first private media channel in France, wants to marry with M6, the second private media channel in France. Together, they would enjoy 10 channels, 66 percent of total viewers, and 70 percent of the French television advertising market. The beautiful wedding would help them invest in high-quality TV programs, such as "love in the meadow" and "the voice." They thus invite the French competition service to prepare the marriage. However, the French wedding planner has some difficulties with the wedding because it might significantly lessen competition in the French media and television advertising markets to the detriment of viewers that might see more annoying ads and love in the meadow.

If something seems too good to be true is because it's probably not. Probably the wedding is a terrible idea for competition and viewers. However, they need the marriage, and the French wedding planner, unofficially under the French sovereign political's pressure, must find a solution. The future spouses thus call on GAFAM to help them celebrate the party. “You know you married a very bright guy,” said the French monarch to the fiancé.

Indeed, this is a smart idea—what Allen calls the “GAFAM firm defense” in reference to the “failing firm defense” where the unavoidable exit of the fiancé justifies the marriage. With the GAFAM firm defense, the inevitable presence of the GAFAM supports the wedding. In GAFAM we need. GAFAM threaten the future spouses because viewers are changing their consumption habits—From TV channels to streaming services.

However, the wedding planner is not naïve, especially when it has to explain to the French deputies, investigating the big media players in France, how it reviews the wedding preparation. It knows that the future spouses already try to compete with streaming services by creating the French streaming platform Salto with the second media channel France Télévisions in 2019 while keeping their own streaming services. It also knows that the French are mainly active in France, whereas the main American competitors—Disney+, Netflix, and Amazon Prime, not the GAFAM—are active globally. Furthermore, the Americans’ main revenue stream comes from worldwide subscriptions, whereas the French mainly rely on French television advertising. The Americans have thus more viewers and resources to invest in content than the French. “Life is sometimes very cruel. It does not give satisfaction nor to those who are rich and famous, or to those who are poor and unknown. But to be rich and famous, between the two, is definitely better", said the future spouses to the wedding planner.

Accordingly, the wedding planner must decide whether to celebrate a wedding that might harm the French because the spouses face pressure from Americans. The European wedding planner tried to arrange a similar complex dilemma between the French Alstom and the German Siemens, facing pressure from China, but ultimately decided not to do the wedding because it would have harmed the European market. In their dream of a European Champion, the opposition to the marriage made the French and German sovereigns very furious up to the point of proposing to reduce the power of the European wedding planner.

Will the French competition service accept the “GAFAM firm defense”? To GAFAM with love will be available soon in all streaming services (and, of course, French channels).

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