Manuel Alduy, a well-respected French film and TV industry veteran who joined France Televisions as head of cinema and international development in January, discussed the broadcaster’s strategy to ramp up its scope and attract younger audiences.
Alduy, who worked at Canal Plus Group for 22 years before joining Twentieth Century Fox in 2016, is making his first public keynote under this new position at France Televisions on Tuesday at Series Mania in Lille.
Alduy said France Televisions will next be launching an initiative with the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), an alliance of public service media which regroups 100 members across the continent, including the BBC in the U.K., ARD in Germany, DR in Denmark, SVT in Sweden, Rai in Italy, Channel One Russia and the Israeli Public Broadcasting Corporation, among others. The EBU is presided by Delphine Ernotte, who was reelected as president of France Televisions for a second, five-year term in July 2020.
Starting next month, France Televisions and other members will propose select fiction projects, with the producers’ approval, to members of the EBU and offer them a 30-day window to join as co-producers.
“It’s a sort of first-look process that we are launching with the EBU and we have set up a dedicated workshop for this,” said Alduy, adding that France Televisions is in the process of selecting two or three projects to be part of the initiative.
“The idea is that members of the EBU will have 30 days to position themselves — it will begin with a brief pitch or concept, then two weeks later we will provide more developed pitch for the project, and at the end of the 30 days we will see who’s interested and how much can be invested,” explained Alduy.
The executive said his role at the broadcaster will be to continue and expand on what France Televisions initiated three years ago through The Alliance, a partnership with ZDF and Rai whose latest international co-production, “Germinal” is world premiering in competition at Series Mania.
A modern adaptation of Émile Zola’s 1885 masterpiece, “Germinal” tells the story of a coalminers’ strike in northern France in the 1860s. Another high-profile international show delivered under The Alliance is Frank Spotnitz’s “Leonardo” which portrays the Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci in new ways.
Besides “Leonardo,” “Germinal,” The Alliance’s roster comprises “The Reunion” a thriller adapted from Guillaume Musso’s bestseller which Sydney Gallonde’s Make It Happen Studio is producing; “The Swarm,” an environmental thriller based on Frank Schätzing’s science-fiction bestseller “Abysses” with Cécile de France et Leonie Benesch (“The Crown”); and “Survivors,” a genre series directed by Carmine Elia (“The Sea Beyond”) revolving around a sailboat that gets destroyed in a fierce storm and disappears.
The executive noted that the collaboration with Rai and ZDF was nevertheless better suited for certain type of broad-based fiction like historical series and certain literary adaptations such as “Germinal,” and the partnerships with EBU is meant to help the French broadcaster ramp up its output in different types of international series and explore new genre, such as fantasy.
“France Televisions’s scripted series have been thriving with strong ratings and now our primary mission is to push our limits and deliver premium shows that attract younger audiences,” said Alduy.
“Most broadcasters in Europe are now facing the same competition – Netflix, Amazon and Disney + — but the way we are addressing this new situation varies territory by territory, so the key is to find partners who have matching ambitions and look in the same direction,” Alduy explained.