Netflix, France’s TF1 Strike Novel Limited Broadcast Deal on French Original Series ‘Marseille’

Pact leverages large anticipation in France for Gerard Depardieu starrer

PARIS — TF1, France’s biggest broadcast network, will screen in primetime the first two episodes of “Marseille” on May 12, a week after all its eight segs are made available exclusively to subscribers in and outside France by Netflix.

The limited broadcast run is a pioneering deal for Europe, leveraging the huge anticipation in France sparked by “Marseille,” France and indeed Europe’s first Netflix original series to see the light of day, as well as the still huge primetime audiences commanded by incumbent TV players. TF1 annually accounts for over 90 of the 100 most seen shows in Europe, many being primetime dramas.

A teaser for “Marseille,” deal ensures that everyone in France will be able to watch the first two episodes during prime time. But if they then want to watch subsequent episodes, we hope they will sign up to Netflix to do so. Or some French viewers may be enticed to join Netflix in order to binge all eight episodes before their peers can only seen two on TF1.

Though novel for a European original series, Netflix has made available o YouTube the first episode of one of its biggest hits, docu-series “Making a Murderer.”

Starring Gerard Depardieu as Robert Taro, whose 25-year mandate as the mayor of Marseilles is challenged by a younger and equally unprincipled contender (Benoit Magimel), “Marseille” is being billed by Netflix and TF1 as a TV event which will bring its greatest film stars to French TV viewers.

Positioning the series as a near French cinematographic event, and airing it on TF1, an appointment network for the French, Netflix is also positioning its own French service as part of – and not an enemy to – France’s own fiercely defended culture and entertainment industry.

“We’re delighted to be collaborating with TF1 to showcase the first two episodes of ‘Marseille,’ the first French original series from Netflix,” said Erik Barmack, vice president of international original series at Netflix.

“‘We’re proud to support French culture and thrilled to be able to provide the millions of TF1 viewers this special treat.  By releasing all eight episodes to Netflix members on May 5, we’re excited to share ‘Marseille’ with our global audience.’

Fabrice Bailly, director of TF1 programs added: “TF1 aims to provide viewers with major fiction programming, and is carrying out an ambitious policy of investment in original French productions. ‘Marseille’ is a stunning, cinematic, series, supported by well-known and appreciated talent.”

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