MADRID — Luc Besson’s EuropaCorp, one of France’s biggest movie producers, is on a smallscreen role.
EuropaCorp’s climbing TV sales in France underscore the growing value of new TV distribution outlets for major product suppliers, be they Hollywood majors or Gallic players.
In a slow six months for EuropaCorp theatrical bows, 55% of its first-half revenues of Euros 48.9 million ($61.8 million) came from sales to Gallic pay TV operators and broadcast networks.
At $34.1 million, TV sales are up a significant 82.5% on January-June last year.
TV sales were driven by deals on 11 EuropaCorp films, including “Taxi 4,” “Michou d’Auber” and “Angel-A.”
But also hiking TV sales are deals on EuropaCorp’s 500-movie Roissy Films catalog, and a building back library of EuropaCorp titles, said Severine Madinier, EuropaCorp head of investor relations.
Part of this catalog trade is with France’s new digital terrestrial TV channels — digital broadcast webs offered free to viewers as multi-channel packages.
Gallic producers remain highly concerned about potential cuts in acquisition budgets at France’s main broadcasters, pubcaster France Televisions plus commercial webs TF1 and M6 as they rapidly lose market share.
But product suppliers have cause for optimism in climbing sales with other TV outlets.
“DTT is a perfect client for Roissy Films, which offers classic but not very expensive movies,” said Madinier.
Also, on Nov. 13 giant Gallic telco France Television-Orange launched Orange Cinema Series, a five-channel satellite pay TV operation, creating a rival to pay TV giant Canal Plus.
Hollywood studios also see increasing upside in Gallic digital broadcast nets.
“In France, there’s a lot of business with the eight or 10 DTT channels in France that have been on the air for two to three years,” Jeffrey Schlesinger, prexy of Warner Bros. Intl. Television, said at October’s Mipcom trade fair in Cannes.
“They’re not paying enough to get first-run programming. But they’re big buyers of rerun and library programming and they’re growing.
“There are a lot of new players, especially digital networks in Europe. They don’t have money to produce, they have money to buy,” echoed Pascal Breton, prexy of French TV giant Marathon.