New agreement with film organisations: TF1 wants to play a major role in French cinema and in the future media chronology

01/10/2021

TF1 announced on 19 July the signing of an unprecedented agreement with eleven film organisations based on those signed until now mainly by the Canal + channel. It paves the way for the preparation of the new agreement on the media chronology, allowing the public to access works more quickly.

A TF1 press release states that “This balanced agreement is in line with the transformation of our ecosystem and the ongoing modernisation of our regulatory framework (…) It also reflects the relationship of trust between the TF1 group and the film industry, and their commitment to supporting French and European film creation in all its diversity[1]

This agreement translates into:

a) An increase in investment for French and European creation

The TF1 group undertakes to increase investment in pre-purchases (before they are made) and purchases in favour of French and European film creation. The share devoted to the obligations has been increased to 3.5% (i.e. an increase of 0.3%) of the total net turnover of the TF1, TMC, TFX and TF1 Séries Films channels (47.5 million for the 2020 figures).

The obligation will now be mutualised across all channels and TF1 will be able to devote up to 20% of the total it must invest in the purchase of French or European film rights. The group is also complying with more important diversity rules and will finance an average of 17 films per year in pre-purchase for all the group’s channels, instead of 14.

b) Greater flexibility in the broadcasting of works

TF1 has also been granted multi-broadcasting rights, as well as a more advantageous circulation option for works between its different channels. The group will also be able, for the first time, to offer pre-financed films on catch-up television (replay) for a maximum period of seven days. A film will have the possibility of two broadcasts over a period of 30 days

The terms of these replay services, an option hitherto reserved for Arte and France Télévisions, have not yet been fully defined but the channel has already decided that it must be a paying service.

All this will take a few years to materialise on our screens because it only concerns films that have not yet been released in cinemas. As required by the media chronology legislation, TF1 will then have to wait 22 months after their release to broadcast them.

The agreement may be terminated if TF1 and the other free channels do not obtain the right to broadcast a film during its exclusivity window in the future media chronology under discussion, which is intended to bring platforms such as Netflix, Amazon Prime and Disney+ into the French system. All this will become clearer in the light of the proposed merger between TF1 and M6 [2].

By the UGGC Avocats IP/IT team

Sources:

TF1 press release

KHAYAT, Corine, and PECORARO, Anne-Marie, Fusion TF1-M6 : Le prochain défi des autorités de régulation, Fusions-Acquisitions, 2021.

Les Echos : TF1 signs its first agreement with the French film industry

[1] TF1 press release

[2] See https://www.uggc.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/fusion-tf1-m6-le-prochain-defi-des-autorites-de-regulation-par-corinne-khayat-associee-et-anne-marie-pecoraro.pdf

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