Rupert Murdoch’s European pay-TV company Sky has invested €4 million ($4.49 million) in Molotov, an over-the-top streaming platform in France that distributes free- and pay-TV channels and content to consumers via a Spotify-style freemium model.
Sky, in which Murdoch’s Fox holds a 39% stake, already operates traditional pay-TV networks in the U.K., Ireland, Germany, Austria and Italy, but it has expressed an interest in expanding elsewhere in Europe through OTT services similar to its U.K. streaming platform Now TV. Sky CEO Jeremy Darroch told Variety earlier this year that the company kept an open mind when it came to entering new markets, and this could be done through either the acquisitions of existing OTT services or by launching its own bespoke operations. Last month, reports emerged that Sky were planning to launch Now TV in Spain.
Molotov, which launched its first publicly available service in July, was founded in 2014 by Jean-David Blanc, the founder of cinema and television website AlloCiné, Pierre Lescure, founder of French pay-TV service Canal Plus and president of the Cannes Film Festival, and Jean-Marc Denoual, former senior executive at French free-to-air TV network TF1. “Molotov’s ambition is to become a leading OTT aggregator and distributor of TV content for consumers,” according to Sky. “Molotov also provides a new distribution platform for TV channels and content owners.”
A freemium service, such as Spotify, is one that combines a free basic service, supported by advertising, with a paid-for service for premium content. A key question for Molotov will be what content it can purchase rights to, and, in particular, exclusive rights.