TF1’s digital strategy goes back to the earliest days of the commercial Internet, and is a long-standing priority for the group, boasting pioneering initiatives. It channels its digital activity through two complementary divisions: new-media subsid eTF1, focused on live and catch-up online services, and VOD arm MyTF1VOD.
The group started to experiment with VOD services in 2005, with the launch of MyTF1VOD. Ad-funded catch-up content kicked off in 2009. And in 2006, TF1 started to add platforms and social-network features to its digital offerings.
“When I arrived at TF1, the question was: Can digital be a factor of growth or threat? But rather than having a Manichean approach, we stepped up to the plate by launching our website MyTF1, and we became the first French media company to go digital,” says TF1 Group CEO-chairman Nonce Paolini.
A key source for programming at eTF1 is the TF1 channel, but it also creates exclusive content based on TF1 brands and premium content from partners, says eTF1 general manager Olivier Abecassis.
Today, MyTF1VOD is the second most-used French VOD service behind Orange, and its activity increased 15% last year.
Tristan du Laz, deputy CEO at TF1 Video, sees the need for a solid content strategy. “On pay VOD, growth in consumption will also hinge on the rollout of numerous partnerships with rights holders for the major film and TV series events of the year. This aggressive marketing and promotional strategy draws on the power of our channel to promote these partnerships and thereby attract new fans of VOD,” he says.
Digital growth also stems from an increasing number of offerings such as Afrostream, a transactional VOD service dedicated to African-themed movies, which targets lesser-known films “and establishes a position as the leading legal (streaming service) in these segments,” per du Laz.