France Televisions Signs Producers Pact Ahead of Netflix Rival Launch

Courtesy of Netflix
'Call My Agent!

The pubcaster is bringing the major producers' guilds on board as it gears up for its Salto streamer.

Ahead of the much-anticipated launch of its Netflix rival, Salto, France Televisions has signed an agreement with five local producers' guilds to retain the first rights to the series it majority co-finances.

The pubcaster will be able to distribute its shows across platforms, from linear and replay, as well as ad- and subscription-based streaming with an exclusive window of up to 24 months in some cases. Previously, producers retained the sales rights and could easily offload the product to Netflix or other streamers, as France Televisions only had linear rights. Those will be shortened to three years, down from the previous four.

Ernotte's brainchild, Salto, is a joint venture with leading broadcasters TF1 and M6 in an effort to create a homegrown rival to Netflix. France Televisions is also planning to shift France 4, its youth-oriented channel, and France O, with programming geared towards the country's overseas territories, to online only by 2022.

The pubcaster has announced it will invest 150M more in digital by 2022. France Television will also up its guarantees for indie producers, as well as its internal productions.

France Televisions head Delphine Ernotte has long been a critic of Netflix, and said back in October that the pubcaster should stop “dancing with the devil” — meaning stop selling its content to the California-based SVOD.

The new deal includes some of France's biggest producers, including Ma Voisin Productions, the brains behind France's hit series Call My Agent!

Despite her calls to halt the sales of series to Netflix, the third season of Call My Agent! saw a major slide in its ratings when it aired in December, despite boasting such big stars as Isabelle Huppert and Jean Dujardin. But it was well noted in the press that in a series first, the program was scheduled to premiere on Netflix an unprecedented two weeks after its France 2 broadcast air date.

The new agreement also comes as CanalPlus is said to be considering launching its own rival SVOD service for 10 per month after shuttering its CanalPlay service last summer.