French free-to-view streaming service provider Molotov has signed an agreement with the M6 Group to distribute the M6, W9, 6Ter and Gulli channels, as well as the catch-up and bonus content, on its streaming platform within its premium, paid for tier.
Molotov’s surrender on the terms by which it can distribute M6’s services follows a recent court ruling ordering it not to retransmit the channels and fining it €7 million.
The largely free-to-view streaming service, which has been transmitting the M6, W9 and 6ter channels for three years without authorisation from the broadcaster, was given eight days to stop distributing the services by the Tribunal Judiciaire de Paris.
From December 18, Molotov will distribute M6 group’s free-to-air channels as part of its paid All subscribers will be able to access the channels as well as the catch-up and bonus content and the Cloud-based recording function. However, the M6 Group free-to-air DTT channels will no longer be accessible free of charge but only as part of Molotov’s paid offers as a result of the agreement.
M6 has long adopted a policy of only making its channels available to third-party distributors via pay TV tiers, and not on a free-to-air basis.
The French competition watchdog, the Autorité de la Concurrence, recently launched a procedure to sanction M6 over non-compliance with obligations undertaken at the time of the creation of Salto, the joint SVOD offering of the broadcaster, TF1 and France Télévisions.
According to the watchdog, M6 has failed to respect a commitment to provide a transparent, objective and non-discriminatory offer for the distribution of their channels.
The obligation, which was imposed on Salto’s three shareholders, requires them to offer the same conditions to all distributors, whether they are telcos such as Orange, SFR, Bouygues and Free, satellite-based pay TV operators such as Canal+ or web services including Molotov.
Molotov meanwhile has said it would continue to distribute all other free-to-air DTT channels free of charge.
The company remains in dispute with France’s other main commercial broadcaster TF1 in a case due to reach its conclusion next year.
TF1 is claiming damages of €5 million for Molotov’s transmission of its channels without rights and a further €2.4 million for illegal use of its branding.
However, unlike M6, TF1 has not adopted a policy of exclusively making its channels available to pay distributors.
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