France Télévisions envisaging SVOD launch next spring

France Télévisions director-general Delphine Ernotte remains committed to the launch of a new subscription video-on-demand platform to take on Netflix, but the project is now unlikely to see the light of day until the spring of next year.

Delphine Ernotte

Delphine Ernotte

According to French press reports, the SVOD platform will have a budget of around €15 million over three years and the aim is to secure a 10% market share in the three-to-five year timeframe.

About 10 French production groups have agreed to license part of their catalogues on a revenue-share basis for the project, but France Télévisions is also seeking support from pay TV operators such as Canal+ or OCS.

Xavier Couture, outgoing programming chief at the pubcaster, has said that the SVOD service will offer exclusive drama programming along with catalogue titles and family-oriented animation and other fare.

France Télévisions took a first step towards creating a new on-demand platform earlier this year when it integrated previous efforts, notably its Pluzz offering, into a new site focusing on free-to-air catch-up content. The group has reportedly seen traffic fall as a result of a change that required users to register for the site.

The restatement of the pubcaster’s SVOD plans have been greeted with skepticism in some quarters, not least because the French government recently demanded that it find an additional €50 million in savings on top of wide-ranging economies already imposed under the previous administration.

According to newspaper Le Monde, Ernotte also wants to create a European alliance of broadcasters to rival Netflix. According to the paper, such as service could initially be launched on a model similar to Hulu, offering free catch-up content with a limited number of pay services, which would also help foster co-productions between European players.

The creation of a broader pan-European SVOD platform could run into numerous obstacles, including the difficulty of pubcasters launching paid for services and the need for cross-border licensing of rights.

Ernotte, who last week shared her plans with France Télévisions management last week, has also proposed to to create 13 regional groupings to support the localization of France 3, among other things.

Le Monde had earlier reported that French culture minister Françoise Nyssen was considering a much more radical reform of public service broadcasting that would see France Télévisions, Radio France and other public media outfits incorporated into a single holding company, with youth-focused France 4 and radio station Le Mouv’ turned into digital platforms and overseas territories channel France Ô shut down.


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