Please wait...
Please wait...

TF1 to grow distribution business

MIPTV: French broadcaster TF1 aims to become more active in international distribution of both drama and animation by securing more shows and developing its sales business.

The group’s rights division, TF1 Droits Audiovisuel (TF1 DA), acquired rights to Europacorp series No Limit last year and has now picked up the channel’s upcoming Second World War event miniseries Resistance (6×60’).

TF1 International is launching the latter show, produced by Gaumont TV, at MipTV.

TF1 DA also holds rights in some territories, including Italy and Spain, to Europacorp’s English-language action series Taxi Brooklyn, a spin-off from Luc Besson’s Taxi movie franchise. Flagship network TF1 will start airing the show next week.

“We would like to take international distribution rights to three or four new drama series per year,” said Daniel Preijocaj, CEO of TF1 DA. “We will also go for one or two new animated series a year.”

In the case of Resistance, TF1 DA invested a minimum guarantee of €330,000 (US$453,400) towards the €8.5m budget. “But the minimum guarantee can amount to much more, depending on the project. In the past we have invested up to €3m,” said Preijocaj. “We can also invest in series commissioned by other channels. We are currently in negotiation for a France 2 series.”

Over the past decade, the division has been more focused on distribution of theatrical movies, where it is a prominent player, but has continued to sell some of TF1’s key series, such as Profilages.

“The international market for drama is currently very dynamic, with new opportunities for French drama, so we are accelerating the process,” says Preijocaj.

Historically, French broadcasters distributed only a small part of what they commissioned because of independent production quotas. As it happens, broadcasters’ agreements with producers’ unions are currently being re-negotiated in France.

In addition, the channel has become more interested in commissioning international drama, although it is limited in the number of series it can shoot in English because of production quotas.

“We need to find ways to recoup our investment in French drama,” said Benoit Louvet, TF1 Group’s executive VP for acquisitions and distribution.

“Despite our dramas growing more and more successful, some getting eight million viewers, which is equivalent to or more than the figures for US dramas, we are losing money. We pay 70-90% of a series’ budget in licence fees [TF1 invest around €900,000 per hour], while to be profitable the licence fee should be only 40%.”

Please wait...