French broadcaster Lagardère Active signed a deal in April to make its content available to the YouTube community in France, as Lagardère Active looks to cater to consumers who want to watch content online. This strategic partnership aims to speed up the promotion and monetization of premium video content on an international basis.
Gregory Dray, director, international business development, digital business group, Lagardère Active, explains why the French broadcaster the goals behind the agreement and how the changing broadcast landscape is affecting broadcasters such as Lagardère.
VIA SATELLITE: What is the significance of the YouTube deal?
Dray: Strategically, this agreement with YouTube has a lot of significance. We have an extensive portfolio of distribution rights, whether it be in short-form or long-form video content. Our goal is to use as best as possible all of our rights to better expose our content to new audiences and better monetize all the content we are producing and distributing. We decided to enter into a significant partnership with YouTube for several reasons. First, we wanted to enter into a partnership with a leader in online video with an international footprint in video. YouTube is today, by very far, the undisputed worldwide leader in the online video arena with more than 500 million unique views per month and strong leadership positions in key territories such as the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Japan, Spain and Italy. YouTube is the third largest Web site in the world. Second, we wanted to make sure to have a solid business model supporting our video syndication initiative. Basically, our content, one way or another, must be properly compensated, so we needed to find out a solid business model. We are considering YouTube as a giant worldwide TV network, and if for the consumer the content found on YouTube is free, Lagardère Active does not provide its content to third-party platforms for free. After one year of negotiations, we managed to find with YouTube the right business model for us and for them.
Speaking more about the content, obviously, you will just find on YouTube selected programs from our libraries. The goal is not cannibalize ourselves (for short-form content). We intend to keep some exclusives for our own Web sites.
VIA SATELLITE: What benefits will you derive from this deal?
Dray: We will completely respect the exclusivities and the rights already granted to our key partners, for example, Canal Satellite in France for our TV networks unit and the largest TV channels such as TF1, M6, RAI, NHK, etc. That being said, there are some rights we do not fully exploit at the moment. The deal with YouTube will enable us to exploit a certain category of rights and to monetize them. For example, Europe Images International (EII) owns international rights to critically acclaimed and successful French dramas, documentaries and feature films. We will use, for example, YouTube U.K. or YouTube U.S. to give more exposure to these programs in the United Kingdom and the United States while starting to monetizing them through display and in-video advertising units powered by YouTube’s commercial force.
In France, we also own distribution rights of quality dramas, feature films and documentaries. What we will do is to offer on YouTube a selection of the best of our content, but for a limited period of time and partially, that is to say that, for a series, we will just make available some selected episodes. We will see the reaction of the audience, look at the monetization results, and then decide how to move forward. Again, this deal with YouTube will be complementary to what we already do with other platforms, particularly big local broadcasters. We will just play with our rights and do what’s best for the programs and their monetization prospects while completely respecting the rights already granted to broadcasters. For example, a series like “Joséphine Ange Gardien”, a ratings bonanza for TF1 in France, will never be made available by EII on YouTube France, but we will distribute on YouTube U.K. a couple of Josephine episodes dubbed or subtitled in English. We want to use YouTube to showcase the best of our French content and bring it to an international audience. We are going to make available on YouTube in the United Kingdom and the United States French flagship TV programs. We will use YouTube as a platform to showcase this content. The goal is to give new promotional opportunities for programs to be sold to local broadcasters. At the same time, we want to monetize these programs in the United Kingdom and the United States. With the depth of our content, we want to find new monetization tools.