PARIS– Pursuing its now agressive content strategy, Altice Group has signed a strategic output deal with NBCUniversal International to distribute three NBCUniversal channel brands across France: 13th Street, Syfy and E! Entertainment Television.
The deal will also allow Altice’s French telco group SFR to roll out a new pay-TV channel dedicated to cinema and series, following a similar path as Canal Plus and Orange Cinema Series, the premium TV channel of France’s leading telco group Orange.
On top of this newly-created channel, Altice’s French telco group SFR will provide its subscribers with NBCUniversal movies, including the next instalments of the “Bourne,” “Fast & Furious” and “Despicable Me” franchises.
Under the deal, SFR will offer four new channels, rounding up to a total of 20 channels across sports, information, cinema, entertainment, discovery and documentary.
Michel Combes, CEO of Altice and Chairman and CEO of SFR Group, said the deal with NBCUniversal International which “enable Altice to achieve an unprecedented strategic partnership for a distributor in France.”
“(The agreement) covers both NBCUniversal International Networks’ portfolio, each leading in its genre, and its blockbuster productions, marking our entry into the field of cinema broadcasting. I am pleased our customers in France will now benefit from the best films and series of NBCUniversal,” pointed out Combe.
This push into content fits Altice’s ambition to become a leading telco and media group in France and around the world. The company recently tapped Bertrand Meheut, former chairman of Canal Plus Group, as vice president of SFR’s supervisory board. Although the position is not operational, Meheut is expected to play a large strategic role in the company.
Earlier this year, SFR Play platform (also called Zive) acquired first-run rights to “Medici: Masters of Florence” with Dustin Hoffman with recorded top ratings in Italy. The service now aims at acquiring more French and European feature films as it seeks to differentiate its contents offer from rivals in a French market suffering cut-price competition.