New Streaming Video Platform to Target Francophiles Outside Europe

A new streaming video platform aimed at Francophiles living outside France and Western Europe is under development by Julien Verley, director of business development at France Televisions, a state-owned TV broadcaster.

Dubbed “France+,” the SVOD channel/app aims to replicate the success of BritBox, the over-the-top video platform launched in the United States in 2017 by the BBC and ITV.

Verley, who is scheduled to leave Frances Televisions June 30 to work on the project, said the service would offer upwards of 3,000 hours of programming at launch featuring movies, dramas, documentaries, animation and TV shows.

Content would be dubbed in English, Spanish and Chinese Mandarin.

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Verley says France+ aims to capitalizeon the “art et douceur de vivre” of French arts, culture, creativity, society, heritage, history and education.

Julien Verley

“I’m confident this project … will expose French audiovisual creation, [a] scarcity [on] the large U.S. global platforms [i.e. Netflix and Amazon Prime Video], as well as the unprecedented opening of Anglo Saxons markets to international programs dubbed in English,” Verely said in a statement.

 The platform, which is seeking funding and would rely on third-party content libraries, is currently in partnership talks with Group Canal+, Group France Televisions and Group TF1, according to Verley.

“The quality, the diversity and depth of French and European programming represent an undervalued and underexploited [treasure-trove],” he said.







France’s Canal+ Launches New SVOD Service; Encourages Password Sharing

Seeking to combat Netflix’s rising popularity in France, pay-TV giant Canal+ March 12 launched a new subscription streaming video service, c+Séries, featuring local and international TV content, including original programming.

In a twist, Canal+ is marketing the €6.99 ($7.90) monthly service without movies through a campaign that encourages users to share their password with up to four people — the latter based on the €14 ($15.90) plan.

The service is accessed through the existing “myCanal” app, which is available on Apple iOS and Android platforms.

Frank Cadoret, deputy CEO of the C+ Group, said the service targets younger demos by offering episodic dramas and multiple distribution options.

“We are totally in tune with the new aspirations of the public,” Cadoret said in a statement.

Indeed, with Netflix recently surpassing 5 million subs in France, Canal+ is trying to appeal to a consumer that is moving away from traditional linear TV distribution and toward over-the-top video.

In addition to more than 150 series, c+Séries streams content from CBS-owned Showtime and Fox’s FX, including “Billions,” “SMILF,” “Pose” and “What We Do in The Shadows,” the platform offers StudioCanal original series “The Lawyer” and “Moscow Noir.” Catalog series “The Americans,” “Sons of Anarchy,” “24,” “Dexter”and “X-Files” also are available.



French Broadcaster Canal+ Gets Shorter Theatrical Window

The French theatrical window is famously long and a matter of law. Changing it simply isn’t an option – unless you’re Canal+, a major financial backer of independent cinema in France.

The Canal+ Group recently announced a new agreement with French regulators that enables its pay-TV service to broadcast theatrical releases from six months after their box office debut.

Typically, French broadcasters must wait at least 10 months. But with declining pay-TV subs in the face of increased competition from over-the-top video platforms, the status quo is changing.

In exchange for the shorter window, Canal+ renewed a commitment to spend more than $200 million annually funding local French film productions through 2023.

The deal also allows Studiocanal, the company’s TV and theatrical unit, for the first time to produce four in-house productions per year—rather than just funding third-party content.

Meanwhile, subscription streaming video services such as Netflix can wait up to three years before gaining access to French theatrical titles – a primary reason why the SVOD pioneer remains engaged in a protracted dispute with the Cannes Film Festival and French exhibitors regarding streaming its original movies concurrent with box office.

While the impasse between Netflix and French exhibitors continues to generate headlines, government officials recognize changing market conditions.

The streaming service, along with Amazon Prime Video and other over-the-top video services, can now stream theatrical titles 15 months after their box office debut, provided they fund local productions – something Netflix and Amazon are doing.

In September, Netflix announced it was producing 14 original series in France in an effort to reach the 30% local content mandate. Netflix reportedly ended the third quarter with about 3.5 million French subscribers.

In February, Amazon announced its first French/German series co-production, a comedy titled, “Deutsch-Les Landes.”

“This is just the beginning for us, as we will keep on bringing the best of French and international TV, including new French Originals, to our customers here,” Jay Marine, VP of Amazon Video EU, said at the time.