France: New content window rules agreed
January 25, 2022
From Pascale Paoli-Lebailly in Paris
France’s new content rights window timescales, which now include SVoD platforms, will come into operation from February 10th, following agreement between broadcasters and the movie industry.
The new rules mean that Netflix will now be able to run a movie 15 months after its theatrical release, instead of the current 36 months.
Pay-TV operator Canal+, the biggest winner of the new agreement led by the French Ministry of Culture, will now be able run a movie six months after the theatrical release instead of eight. The channel will also keep its exclusive rights for nine months. The group concluded a specific deal with the industry’s professional organisations last month, on the proviso that Canal+ will invest €190 million per year into French movies, under the condition of being able to broadcast them earlier on TV.
This new windowing fulfils the French version, Smad, of the ‘AVMS’ Euro Directive, operative since July 1st 2021 and obliging foreign SVoD platforms such as Netflix, Disney + and Prime Video, to contribute financially to the French creation in addition.
In exchange, they will be able to stream movies earlier, even at six months following the theatrical release where specific deals are signed with the professional organisations.
Netflix, which was the only platform to sign the agreement on January 24th, has committed to produce at least ten movies, including small budget titles (€3 million -€4 million) and to invest €40 million per year on average.
With platforms’ integration into the timescales, French FTA channels (TF1, M6, France Télévisions) which are subject to an investment obligation of 3.2 per cent of their global turnover, remain authorised to run pre-acquired movies 22 months after the release and for a 24 month period. They will also be able to conclude deals with platforms to obtain movies earlier.
Disney+ and Prime Video have yet to sign the agreement, but will have to adopt it. Their window has been fixed at 17 months.
In September 2021, Disney threatened to stop releasing its own movies in French cinemas.