ViacomCBS Expands Content Distribution in France

ViacomCBS continues to expand distribution of its core brands around the world — this time with a new linear and on-demand access to BET, Comedy Central, Paramount Pictures, Nickelodeon and MTV on French telecom/broadband provider Orange.

Nick Junior, Nickelodeon, Nickelodeon +1 and Nickelodeon Teen join Orange on July 9th, with MTV, MTV Hits and J-One coming aboard on Aug. 20.

“This distribution renewal marks an important step for both our partnership with Orange and brand presence in France, as we now distribute the full ViacomCBS channel portfolio throughout the French market,” Raffaele Annecchino, president of ViacomCBS Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia, said in a statement. “We look forward to building on this important relationship and offer all French audiences the best of our content.”

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With a track record of driving growth from both on-screen and off-screen activities in the markets for which he currently has responsibility, Annecchino was brought on board ViacomCBS’s international expansion focusing on developing scale in the company’s operations in EMEAA, in addition to continuing to be responsible for VCNI’s mobile strategy.

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In March, Annecchino helped ViacomCBS and Comcast-owned Sky ink a distribution deal for select content offered in Germany, Switzerland and Austria. Under terms of the deal, Sky’s satellite customers in the countries now have access to Nickelodeon, Nick Jr. and Nick Toons.

French Online TV Service Molotov Tops Netflix With 10 Million Subs

Upstart French online TV service Molotov says it has more than 10 million subscribers since launching three years ago. The platform has quietly passed Netflix (6 million subs) and was recently selected to join the French Tech 120 index for promising start-up companies headed by the French government.

Founded by JeanDavid Blanc and Pierre Lescure, who separately started AlloCiné and Canal+, Molotov in 2019 saw a 63% increase in time spent on the platform and an 82% increase in subscriptions. Noteworthy numbers considering France has been slow to accept OTT video distribution.

Molotov begins 2020 as the over-the-top video leader in France with nearly 30,000 titles updated daily from more than 170 publishers and channels, Molotov is constantly expanding its content offer.

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The service recently inked license agreements with ViacomCBS and WarnerMedia’s Turner property, Adult Swim, information (Altice / NextRadioTV, RT France), sport ( Sport in France), and integrated ethnic channels from Africa and the Maghreb (Northwest Africa).

Molotov operates a “Gamer Zone” dedicated to video game enthusiasts, with the platform expanding in the coming weeks with the integration of local, regional and foreign channels, documentaries and related content.

Molotov also enables third-party content holders to monetize programming through software tools such as “SmartPaywall” (for publishers offering paid content) and “SmartAdServing” (intended for publishers serving advertising ).

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In a statement, the platform said “Molotov’s selection illustrates the relevance of its service and the expectations that surround it, its dimension beneficial to French society and its development prospects.”

 

Netflix Top-10 Lists Underscore Streamer’s Vital Global Markets

During the end-of-year winter lull, Top 10 lists permeate the media landscape, including at Netflix.

The SVOD behemoth reportedly disclosed its most-viewed TV series and titles overall in five key markets outside the United States: the United Kingdom, India, Australia, France and Germany.

The U.K., Germany and France collectively had about 21 million subscribers at the end of 2018, according to Statista. India, with its massive population and large mobile user base, remains a new market for streamers, including Netflix. The Economic Times of India estimates Netflix’s sub count at 1 million to 2 million.

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The streaming video pioneer continues to lead the growth of SVOD services in Australia with more than 11.2 million Aussies having a subscription — up 25% from a year ago, according to Roy Morgan.

As expected, many of Netflix’s top programs in the United States also fared well globally — underscoring the streamer’s push toward producing local content for a worldwide audience.

Top performers include “Stranger Things,” “Black Mirror,” “The Witcher,” “The Umbrella Academy,” movies 6 Underground, The Irishman, The Highwaymen and Murder Mystery, and documentary  “Conversations With a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes,” among others.

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Notable exclusion from the U.K., the new installment of “The Crown.”

Netflix’s Top 10 most-popular releases, movies and TV series by country as reported by Deadline.com:

Top 10 Most Popular Releases of 2019 in U.K.:

“The Disappearance of Madeleine McCann”
6 Underground
Murder Mystery
“The Witcher”
The Irishman
“After Life”
“Stranger Things 3”
“Our Planet”
“Sex Education”
“Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes: Limited Series”

Top 10 Most Popular Series:
“The Witcher”
“After Life”
“Stranger Things 3”
“Sex Education”
“The Umbrella Academy”
“You”
“Unbelievable”
“Top Boy”
“Black Mirror”
“Dirty John”

Top 10 Most Popular Releases in Australia:
Murder Mystery
6 Underground
“The Witcher”
Isn’t It Romantic
“Lunatics”
The Irishman
“Stranger Things 3”
Extremely, Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile
Triple Frontier
“Dead to Me”

Top 10 Most Popular Series:
“The Witcher”
“Lunatics”
“Stranger Things 3”
“Dead to Me”
“The Umbrella Academy”
“Unbelievable”
“Dirty John”
“Sex Education”
“Rick and Morty: S4”
“You: S2”

Top Ten Most Popular Movies:
Murder Mystery
6 Underground
Isn’t It Romantic
The Irishman
Extremely, Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile
Triple Frontier
Aquaman
The Highwaymen
The Perfect Date
Falling Inn Love

Top 10 Most Popular Releases in India:
“Sacred Games: S2”
Kabir Singh
Article 15
“Bard of Blood”
Drive
Badla
House Arrest
6 Underground
“Delhi Crime”
Chopsticks

Top 10 Most Popular Series:
“Sacred Games: S2”
“Bard of Blood”
“Delhi Crime”
“Sex Education”
“Leila”
“Stranger Things 2”
“Typewriter”
“Little Things: S3”
“The Witcher”
“The Spy”

Top 10 Most Popular Movies:
Kabir Singh
Article 15
Drive
Badla
House Arrest
6 Underground
Chopsticks
Baazaar
Luka Chuppi
Romeo Akbar Walter

Top 10 Most Popular Releases in France:
“Money Heist: S3”
“The Witcher”
6 Underground
“Sex Education”
“Umbrella Academy”
“Stranger Things 3”
“You: S2”
Triple Frontier
“Elite S2”
“Family Business”

Top 10 Most Popular Series:
“Money Heist: S3”
“The Witcher”
“Sex Education”
“Umbrella Academy”
“Stranger Things 3”
“You: S2”
“Elite S2”
“Family Business”
“Raising Dion”
“13 Reasons Why: S3”

Top 10 Most Popular Movies:
6 Underground
Triple Frontier
Banlieusards (Street Flow)
The Irishman
Klaus
The Perfect Date
Isn’t It Romantic
Tall Girl
Murder Mystery
Falling Inn Love

Top 10 Most Popular Releases in Germany:
6 Underground
“Money Heist”
“The Witcher”
Murder Mystery
The Irishman
“Sex Education”
Triple Frontier
Isn’t It Romantic
Falling Inn Love
The Perfect Date

Top 10 Most Popular Movies:
6 Underground
Murder Mystery
The Irishman
Triple Frontier
Isn’t It Romantic
Falling Inn Love
The Perfect Date
Wie Jodie Uber Sich Hinauswuchs
The Knight Before Christmas
The Highwaymen

Top 10 Most Popular Series:
“Money Heist”
“The Witcher”
“Sex Education”
“Stranger Things 3”
“You”
“The Umbrella Academy”
“13 Reasons Why”
“The I-Land”
“Elite”
“Black Mirror”

Disney+ Coming to France’s Canal+ in March

Facing competition from Netflix, which has topped 6 million subscribers in France, pay-TV operator Canal+ has inked a deal with Disney+ to bring the SVOD service to the country by the end of March.

“This exclusive partnership is a new major step in the transformation of the Canal+ model,” Maxime Saada, CEO of the broadcaster, told French daily Les Echos.

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The deal is interesting since Canal+ inked a similar distribution deal with Netflix in September, offering subscribers direct access to the SVOD behemoth with single €35 monthly fee, which included pay-TV, movies and TV shows from Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and HBO.

“Netflix is the global reference in the industry with world-acclaimed shows,” Saada said at the time. “This offer complements our all-round offer of first-run movies, major live sports events, world-class series, including our Créations Originales. It also helps us further consolidate our position as a key aggregator of content and services.”

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IHS: Domestic 4K UHD TV Shipments Surge Due to Pending Chinese Tariffs

Sales and shipments of 4K UHD televisions has hit 60% market penetration in some parts of the world, including the United States, according to new data from IHS Markit.

Speaking Oct. 14 at the MIPCOM confab in Cannes, France, Paul Gray, research analysis director at the London-based IHS, said 4K UHD TVs now exceed more than half of all TV shipments worldwide.

The analyst contends there are more than 260 million 4K UHD households globally — a tally that is expected to reach 574 million households by 2023, according to Advanced-Television.com, which reported Gray’s comments from France. About 34% of North American homes have 4KUHD TVs, increasing to 64% in the next four years.

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Notably, domestic shipments of 4K UHD TVs surged in North America as distributors stockpile inventory ahead of any proposed tariff increases on Chinese-manufactured products by the Trump Administration.

Meanwhile, next-generation 8K resolution continues to grow slowly with 167,000 display units shipped in 2019. This is expected to reach 3 million units by 2023.

France’s Pay-TV Service Canal+ Inks Netflix

If you can’t beat them, join them.

More than a year after Canal+ Group CEO Maxine Saada blamed Netflix and Amazon Prime Video for undermining a branded subscription streaming video service, Canal Play, the pay-TV operator has signed up Netflix.

Canal+ will begin offering subscribers direct access to the SVOD behemoth beginning Oct. 15 with single €35 monthly fee, which includes €20 for pay-TV and €15 for movies and TV shows from Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and HBO.

Canal+ warns that the loss-leading €15 surcharge is to lure subs and won’t last forever, which means a future price hike.

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“Netflix is the global reference in the industry with world-acclaimed shows,” Said said in a statement. “This offer complements our all-round offer of first-run movies, major live sports events, world-class series, including our Créations Originales. It also helps us further consolidate our position as a key aggregator of content and services.”

For Netflix, which already has more than 6 million French subs after a sluggish start, the partnership underscores original content possibilities.

“Great stories can come from anywhere and be loved everywhere – and we’re committed to helping more people access a diverse range of content from creators all around the world both on Netflix and through our partnership with Canal+,” said Netflix CEO Reed Hastings.

 

Analyst: French Home Entertainment Third-Largest in Europe

The French TV and video entertainment market has struggled in recent years as over-the-top video undermines traditional distribution.

Now, the French, along with every other home entertainment market, has embraced SVOD as home entertainment — if for no other reason than statistics.

Futuresource Consulting says total video entertainment consumer spend is expected to exceed €7 billion ($7.7 billion) this year, making France the third-largest video entertainment market in Europe.

“Despite the closure of CanalPlay, SVOD has started to take off in France driven by Netflix’s fantastic performance,” analyst Tristan Veale, said in a statement.

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Veale attributed Netflix surge among French consumers due to part to the service spending freely for the rights to key local language TV shows, which have been well received and have created a buzz around the service.

“From 5 million subscribers at the end of 2018, representing half the market, we are expecting their sub base to grow further in 2019,” Veale said.

Indeed, SVOD revenue is expected to hit €827 million ($918 million) this year.

According to a Futuresource consumer survey, viewing Netflix on a TV is now the dominant way to watch the service in France.

“Over two-thirds of Netflix users now say viewing on any TV is their most preferred way, with Smart TV’s in particular a key driver, a trend we are seeing in many other markets we survey,” Veale said.

Notably, as myriad consumers worldwide subscribe to multiple SVOD serivces, the practice is still relatively uncommon in France, with less than 40% of SVOD households taking more than one service, with no significant challenger to Netflix since CanalPlay exited in mid-2018.

Futuresource contends the competitive landscape is expected to change as Amazon Prime Video ups its activity in the country and expected new SVOD entrants such as Disney+, Apple TV+, HBO Max and others target the French market over the next couple of years.

While these new services provide consumers more choice, Futuresource believes this trend will ultimately become frustrating for consumers, as programming choices become increasingly fragmented.

The research firm believes service providers that aggregate multiple services, provide pan-service search, navigation and provide a seamless user experience amongst the clutter of SVOD services will rise to the top.

Aggregation of other entertainment content, including video games and music, could also be a differentiator moving forward.

Companies like Apple with a broad range of TV/Video, music and games content could offer attractive “triple play” content bundles – Apple +, Apple Music and Apple Arcade, according to Futuresource.

“Gaming in particular is taking an increasing share of the consumer wallet, the French gaming software market will hit €3.5 billion ($3.88 billion) in revenue this year, with strong growth anticipated over the next few years,” Veale said.

Amazon Prime Video Secures Distribution With Altice European Subsidiaries

Amazon (and Amazon Prime Video) may be available in the U.K., France, Germany and Italy via the Internet. Now, the No. 2 SVOD service behind Netflix has secured direct access deals with pay-TV operator Altice Europe.

The Dutch-based owner of New York-based Cablevision, inked a deal with Prime Video to make the latter’s content directly available via set-top boxes of SFR in France and Altice units in Portugal, Israel and the Dominican Republic, among others.

SFR will be the first of Altice operations and the first operator in France to have the Prime Video app within its LaBox SFR Fibre, SFR Box Plus and SFR Box 8 set-top boxes.

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Subs will have access to Amazon Originals “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” “Good Omens,” “Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan,” “The Grand Tour,” “The Boys,” “The Man in the High Castle,” “American Gods” and the highly-anticipated “Carnival Row,” an American neo-noir fantasy Web television series with Orlando Bloom and Cara Delevingne launching this fall.

SFR customers will also have access to local Originals like Jérôme Commandeur: Tout en douceur and Raphael Varane: Destin de Champion, and popular French and Hollywood movies.

A large selection of titles on Prime Video are available in Ultra High Definition (UHD) and HDR.

The deal furthers Altice’s strategy combining third-party over-the-top online video apps and services with its own content and TV functionality in an integrated experience. The launch will commence after the arrival of Amazon Alexa within SFR Box 8.

“We’re excited to collaborate with Amazon to deliver its highly-popular content, including Amazon Originals and Exclusives, directly to our consumers,”Alain Weill, Altice Europe CEO, Altice France Chairman and CEO, said in a statement. “We know our customers want to see their favorite shows and programming on their big screen at home, and our collaboration with streaming services like Amazon continues to make that happen.”

Indeed, earlier this month, Mexico’s Totalplay became the first SVOD service in Latin America to offer direct access to Prime Video.

Amazon is also bowing its first original series in Australia with “LOL: Last One Laughing,” starring Rebel Wilson.

Digital Media Companies, Trump Unite Against New French Tax

Digital media companies, including Amazon, Apple, Google and Facebook, are getting an unlikely assist from President Trump against a proposed 3% tax in France on revenue derived from digital ad services and user-to-user transactions.

Specifically, the tax targets revenue derived in part off of French consumer online activities, including ecommerce, streaming video and audio.

Trump & Co. are crying foul since the tax largely applies to about 30 American companies generating at least €25 million ($27.8 million) in France and €750 million ($842 million) worldwide.

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France, which has tried unsuccessfully to secure European Union support on the move, argues the traditional system doesn’t work on these companies since they operate internationally with little physical presence in the country.

“This is a concern for international trade and the wider economy if countries follow the [Digital sales tax] model and select specific sectors and groups of foreign companies for targeted tax policies,” Nicholas Bramble, trade policy counsel at Google, said in a statement.

“The French tax is unjustifiable in that it infringes international agreements, and unreasonable in that it is discriminatory, retroactive and inconsistent with international tax policy principles.”

“They shouldn’t have done this,” Trump told the media in July. “I told them, I said, ‘Don’t do it because if you do it, I’m going to tax your wine.’”

France contends the tax would help level the playing field.

“These digital giants use our personal data, make huge profits out of these data then transfer the money somewhere else without paying their fair amount of taxes,” said French finance minister Bruno le Maire.

Ampere: It’s Still a YouTube/Netflix Video World

Google-owned YouTube and Netflix remain the top sources for online video and subscription VOD, according to new data from Ampere Analysis.

The London-based research firm found that 63% of survey respondents streamed a video on YouTube in the past month, followed by 39% doing the same on Netflix and 27% on Facebook.

The survey is based on 41,000 online respondents across 20 markets conducted in the first quarter (ended March 31).

Ampere found YouTube ranked the No. 1 source for online video consumption in every region worldwide except the United Kingdom (BBC iPlayer) and China (iQiYi).

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Indeed, more than 60% of respondents in France and Japan watched YouTube, while less than 50% of respondents in the U.K. did so.

As expected, SVOD consumption is highest in the United States – birthplace to Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Hulu.

Notably, American tech platform – Facebook – continues to lose video views – down 5% to 23% of respondents since the third quarter of 2016. YouTube fell 4% to 66%, while Netflix increased 15% to 37% of respondents.

“YouTube’s global dominance in this space is evident in its monthly usage,” Minal Modha, consumer research lead at Ampere, said in a statement. “The differences in viewing between the U.S. and Europe in relation to catch-up and SVOD services is interesting because it shows that SVOD providers will have to work harder in Europe to grow their [market] share as they take on traditional TV channels’ catch-up services. This could be through their catalogue, price-points or communications strategy.”