M6+, TF1+... Television channels are positioning themselves on the video-on-demand market

M6+, TF1+… Television channels are positioning themselves on the video-on-demand market

They grow like mushrooms. In the wake of Netflix, with 270 million subscribers, video on demand offers are proliferating. French channels are also trying to exist in this international market, which is as fluid as it is lucrative thanks to advertising revenue. They all want to expand their audience, with the time spent in front of a TV decreasing year after year. Twenty-five minutes less, in five years. In January, TF1+ showed up. On May 14, the digital pink notebook was expanded with M6+. In this profusion of offers, the platforms of television groups are trying to differentiate themselves by relying on technological innovations and by combining their catch-up television service with a catalog of series, films and documentaries punctuated by original creations. The result is a surge of programs: 30,000 hours available per year for M6+, 600 films, TV films and series in full on TF1+.

Séverine Barthes, lecturer in the Cultural Mediation department at Sorbonne Nouvelle University in Paris, observes that “for the moment, most of these platforms are little different”. “Certainly, they rely on the strength of their brand and the mental image that TV viewers have of it. But all, or almost all, are fighting for the same catalog of content. » A series like Ten percent thus switches, over the course of purchases, from France.tv to Netflix. An exception, however, Arte.tv. “We find in his online proposals a consistency with his identity,” believes the academic. The cultural channel brings together what you don't see elsewhere: Nordic thrillers, Israeli series, cutting-edge documentaries, etc. »

The issue of visibility

Faced with the profusion, the risk of wandering on the free services of television groups or of focusing on one channel after having taken out a subscription is significant. What the bosses of the national chains hope to avoid. To resist, they are talking, paradoxically, about joining forces within a common application, particularly on connected televisions.

“There is a fight for visibility. We must not go it alone, otherwise we will lose the fight,” declared Nicolas de Tavernost, general director of M6 until April, during the last edition of the Séries Mania festival. Especially since this experiment was carried out: it was called Salto, it saw the light of day in October 2020 and… collapsed in March 2023. “Salto was the card to be played by the French channels”, estimates Séverine Barthes . “A missed opportunity” for Delphine Ernotte-Cunci at the head of France Télévisions. The leader hopes to “recover from it”. Viewers too, as the bundled offer from French, and why not European, antennas would gain in relevance. Until then, fortunately there are a few nuggets to unearth on each of the platforms.

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