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France Télévisions makes pact with producers ahead of Salto launch

France Télévisions has struck an agreement with producers that will enable it to exploit content exclusively on its own free and subscription digital packages.

The deal will enable France Télévisions director-general Delphine Ernotte (pictured) to make good her ambition to withdraw series financed by the pubcaster from Netflix and other third-party platforms ahead of the planned launch of Salto, the OTT joint venture between France Télévisions, TF1 and M6.

Under its new deal with producers, the broadcaster will be able to distribute content it has ordered across linear TV, catch-up, video-on-demand and subscription video-on-demand, enabling it to decide on its own distribution strategy. Hitherto, producers retained the rights to sell content purchased by the pubcaster to third-party SVOD platforms.

As a trade-off, producers have secured the concession that the period of linear broadcast exclusivity required by France Télévisions will be reduced from four years to three, or to 30 months for single-episode telefilms. The pubcaster has also agreed to up the quotient of its production guaranteed for independent producers from 75% to 82.5%, while also upping the quotient allocated for internal production from 12.5% to 17.5% and eliminating the 12.5% previously allocated on a flexible basis.

Ernotte has for some time been proselytising the benefits of French broadcasters retaining exclusive rights to their own content in order to “protect French fiction”, citing the example of Disney deciding to retain its own US rights rather than license content to Netflix.

France Télévisions, TF1 and M6 Group teamed up last June to announce their plan to launch joint national OTT TV platform Salto, with a promise that it would “actively participate” in the creation of French and European original content.