French TV App Molotov Signs Deals with Most Major Networks, Except CanalPlus

CBS
'The Mentalist' airs on TF1 in France.

The streaming service, described as a cross between Spotify and Netflix, is set for a beta launch this fall.

French streaming service Molotov has signed a raft of partnership deals with the major French channels, including TF1, M6 and France Televisions, Molotov announced Monday. With the deals, customers will be able to access content from the country’s top channels on its app, which has yet to launch.

Notably, pay-TV giant CanalPlus — including subsidiaries D8, D17 and iTele (soon to be renamed C8, C17 and CNews) — is the only major that has not signed with Molotov. CanalPlus has its own Netflix-style, multi-platform competitor CanalPlay, which had 600,000 subscribers as of last December.

Molotov, billed as a cross between Spotify and Netflix, was founded by Jean-David Blanc, co-founder of France’s film service AlloCine, and Pierre Lescure, co-founder of CanalPlus and current president of the Cannes Film Festival. Former TF1 head of strategy Jean-Marc Denoual and Gamekult co-founder Kevin Kuipers are also on board.

TF1 is the country's leading channel and airs American hits such as The Mentalist, which has been France's top-rated show for years. M6 airs the NCIS franchises and American procedurals such as CBS' Scorpion.

Talks between TF1, M6 and France Televisions, as well as cable provider Orange, to create a streaming service competitor to Netflix broke down over the summer.

Other channels announced as Molotov partners are Arte, NextradioTV, Lagardere Active, La Chaine Parlementaire, Public Senat, Groupe AB, Disney Channel, Turner, Viacom, Euronews, France24, TV5 Monde, TRACE, Gong Media, Nolife, Nautical Channel, LCI, Fashion TV and Luxe TV.

The partnerships thus far cover all French channels except CanalPlus’ offerings, spanning France’s Golf, Animal and History channels, TCM, children’s channels Gulli and Disney, music channels Trace Urban and Clubbing TV, as well as news channels BFM, LCI, France24, Euronews and CNN and more.

The scope of the deals signed is quite extensive for a product that is still in stealth mode. Though little is known about the service yet, it is designed to work across platforms, including TV, laptop, phone and tablet.

"The essence of Molotov is to lead the distribution of TV channels and programs in a new direction, better reflecting their quality and diversity, and bring traditional television into the Internet era," the company says on its website.

A beta launch is expected this fall after Molotov presents its app to France’s television regulatory board the Superior Audiovisual Council (CSA).

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