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European Broadcasters Join Forces Against U.S. Streaming Giants

Continental Europe’s leading public broadcasters have joined forces in a scripted content co-production pact that aims to counter the growing force of U.S. streaming services.

The potentially groundbreaking production agreement, called The Alliance, has been forged by French pubcaster France Televisions, Italy’s RAI TV, and Germany’s ZDF. Three joint projects are already in the works.

The goal of the group is to co-finance innovative, higher-profile, and generally “bigger TV series for viewers in Europe and all around the world,” they said in a joint statement.

The statement quoted France Televisions CEO Delphine Ernotte Cunci as saying that European pubcasters invest an annual total of €14 billion ($16.7 billion) in original programming while Netflix invests “only €7 billion.” She called for the pubcasters to pool resources in order to have greater weight “on the international scene.” 

Continental Europe’s top three pubcasters have decided to “reinvent themselves and contemplate a new era in their collaboration,” the statement said, prompted by “the growing position of new players” in the global market for TV series, “especially OTT players,” which “is upsetting the European audiovisual landscape at large.”

Besides its core three participants, The Alliance is open to the potential participation of several other European pubcasters, such as Spain’s RTVE, Belgium’s RTBF, and Switzerland’s RTS, on a project-by-project basis and is also open to all the other pubcasters to join in.

The Alliance sees itself as “a flexible and project-driven organization,” meaning that its members can carry out co-productions with one or more pubcasters within The Alliance but also with other private companies who are not members of the pact. Members must, however, keep each other informed about European co-production projects that each of them is planning in what amounts to a first-look arrangement. 

A key aspect of The Alliance is that all linear and non-linear TV rights must stay in the pubcasters’ hands.

Three pan-European projects by The Alliance have been announced:

— “Leonardo,” a series about Leonardo da Vinci produced by Lux Vide and Beta Film for RAI, ZDF and France Televisions.

— “Mirage,” an espionage series set in Dubai created by France’s Benedicte Charles, Olivier Pouponneau et Franck Philippon. It’s co-produced by France’s Lincoln TV, Canada’s Cineflix, and Wild Bunch Germany for France Televisions and ZDF.

— “Eternal City,” a series set in Rome’s La Dolce Vita period involving the murder of a French starlet in an apartment on the Via Veneto. It is produced by Aurora TV, Fearless Mind and Banijay Studios France for RAI and France Televisions. 

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