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Sky pumps $4.5m into French OTT

European satcaster Sky has invested €4m (US$4.48m) into a French OTT video platform set up by the founder of Canal+.

Pierre Lescure

Pierre Lescure

Molotov distributes free and pay TV channels and content direct to consumers via a freemium model.

It was set up in 2014 by Canal+ founder and Cannes Film Festival president Pierre Lescure, AlloCiné founder Jean-David Blanc and former senior TF1 executive Jean-Marc Denoual.

The company aims to become a leading OTT aggregator and distributor of TV content for consumers, and to provide a new distribution platform for TV channels and content owners.

The funding from Sky forms part of a larger financing round by the French firm and is one of a number of investments by the satcaster in start-ups recently.

In February, Sky, which operates UK streaming platform Now TV, put money into fan-engagement company InCrowd and a month later backed fledgling Malaysia-based VoD service iflix to the tune of US$45m.

Molotov launched its first public-facing product in France this July after being backed by European private-equity firm Idinvest Partners. The free service is available via smartphones, tablets, Apple TV, connected TVs and desktop computers.

It offers 33 free channels, including TF1, France 2, M6, Arte, Gulli and D8, while more can be added from €3.99 per month.

A full selection of 70 HD channels – including RTL9, BET, Paramount Channel, Disney Channel, Boomerang, Trace Urban and CNN – is available for €9.99 per month.

Over the last two years Sky has also taken stakes in virtual reality producer Jaunt and multi-screen specialist Elemental Technologies.

A freemium model is one that combines paid-for premium content with a basic free service.

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