French OTT Service Molotov Inks Distribution Pacts With 80 TV Channels (EXCLUSIVE)

PARIS– Molotov, the OTT distribution platform created by Jean-David Blanc and Pierre Lescure, the co-founders of AlloCine and pay TV giant Canal Plus, has closed deals with over 80 French and international TV channels in the run-up to its launch.

Conceived as the Spotify of TV, Molotov has signed distribution agreements with France’s top commercial net TF1, pubcaster France Télévisions, Gaul’s second-biggest commercial channel M6, Franco-German net Arte, as well as DTT and cable channels including Nextradio TV, Lagardère Active, La Chaine Parlementaire, Public Sénat, Groupe AB, Disney Channel, Turner, Viacom, Euronews, France 24, TV5 Monde, TRACE Media Group, Gong média, Nolife, Nautical Channel, Les Chaines Interactives, Fashion TV and Luxe TV.

With this first raft of deals, the disruptive digital service covers 90% of the most-watched TV channels in France.

Molotov is now prepping to expand its reach the coming months with a second raft of agreements, notably with Orange Cinema Series, the pay TV package dedicated to upscale series and films, and beINSports, the premium sports channels group. Molotov is also in talks with INA (French National TV Archives) to acquire their new service, INA premium.

Molotov will be first operational for preview by invitation via Molotov.tv, before officially launching.

“The internet has much to offer the television industry. We are delighted that so many channels have put their faith in us by joining Molotov and are allowing us to experience the richness and diversity of television in a new way,” said Blanc, a well-respected angel investor in startups.

Lescure, who is also president of Cannes Film Festival, describes Molotov as “an exciting new service which, while respecting the creative roots of television, will now strengthen its appeal via a giant step forward in modernity and accessibility.”

A disruptive service, Molotov will allow users to stream live TV programs — including soccer — broadcast on nearly every French TV channel on their computers, mobiles or tablets. Like Spotify, users can sort content based on individual tastes, favorite actors, TV shows, movie genres or friends’ recommendations. Unlike content streaming services such as Hulu, Molotov.tv also allows users to bookmark shows, and boasts a recommendation algorithm and a social-media component that connects users to people they know, and showcases buzzy programs, and scenes that have created the largest activity peaks on Twitter.

Molotov will boasts a freemium model: Content from free-to-air channels will be accessible to anyone, and content from pay TV channels will be available to subscribers of those services.

The founders are clearly positioning Molotov on the international market and are expected to broaden the service’s offer in the coming months.

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