French public broadcasters could be advert-free as early as January 2009 after prime minister François Fillon promised to overhaul state TV later this year.
Speaking on French radio station RTL yesterday, Fillon confirmed that the government was already drafting a law to abolish advertising on state-owned channels France 2, France 3, France 4 and France .
He said the law was likely to come into force on January 1 2009.
The French president, Nicolas Sarkozy, surprised the media industry last week by announcing his intention to scrap advertising on public TV.
At his first full press conference at the Elysée palace since being elected last year, Sarkozy said that the adoption of a BBC-style model of broadcasting would increase the quality of public TV in France.
Georges-Marc Benhamou, the president's cultural adviser, came to London in 2007 to examine Britain's state-owned television.
The move would see public channels lose around €800m (£600m) in advertising revenue a year.
Sarkozy promised to make up the shortfall by raising taxes on commercial broadcasters and introducing a new tax for mobile phone operators and internet service providers
The news provoked strong criticism in France, where Sarkozy was accused of lining the pockets of his media tycoon friends.
Sparking comparisons with Italy's former prime minister and Mediaset owner Silvio Berlusconi, journalists pointed to Sarkozy's friendship with Martin Bouygues, owner of commercial channel TF1. Bouygues is godfather to Sarkozy's son Louis.
French media agency OMG predicts that TF1 and rival M6 stand to inherit between 40% and 50% of the advertising revenue currently earned by public channels.
Media agency Carat called Sarkozy's plans "an unprecedented windfall for these two private networks". France's multichannel lineup is also expected to reap the benefits.
In response to Sarkozy's announcement last week, M6 and TF1 saw their share prices rise on the French stock market by 7% and 15% respectively.
Sarkozy also shocked the French media by announcing plans to merge the French version of CNN, France 24,with international channel TV5Monde and Radio France Internationale. The resulting broadcaster would resemble the BBC World Service.