M6 to Launch New Streaming Service with €100 Million Investment

Dan Meier 15 February, 2024 

M6, the French commercial broadcaster, has announced plans for a new streaming service, in the face of continued revenue declines at the TV business. The group’s chairman, Nicolas de Tavernost, is also stepping down, having been involved in M6 since its launch in 1987. He will be replaced by David Larramendy, CEO of M6 Publicité.

The RTL-owned broadcaster said the new streaming service will be developed by Bedrock, a streaming technology joint venture between M6 and RTL. The service will be accessible from all screens and will host free content with ads, aiming to “strengthen the Group’s value proposition for advertisers.”

To realise the new service, M6 will invest up to €100 million in its streaming business. The investment aims to double the group’s streaming revenues, and number of hours viewed on its streaming platform, by 2028. The company expects its streaming operations to break even in 2027.

The strategy echoes moves by ad-funded broadcasters across Europe to make streaming the core of their businesses, following similar announcements by the UK’s Channel 4 and Germany’s ProSieben, which have involved cutting jobs. In France, M6 will push to compete with its abandoned merger partner TF1, which launched its new streaming service last month.

Conversion attempts

Both companies are looking to tap into the growth of streaming to offset the declines in linear TV advertising. In its full-year earnings for 2023, TF1 said group ad revenues were down 2.1 percent YoY, but its streaming ad revenues were up 15.7 percent. The company also claimed the new service, TF1+, had seen a 70 percent increase in daily users compared to the previous MYTF1 service.

The TF1 results were in line with M6’s own TV ad revenues, which fell 2.2 percent YoY, suggesting even declines across the market rather than poor performance from any particular broadcaster. M6 said the results were “in keeping with the market trend,” adding that, “the economic environment, marked by inflation, impacted advertisers’ investments in commercials.”

But M6 was positive on its TV viewing in 2023, reporting a 20.5 percent audience share among 25-49 year olds for its free-to-air channels (M6, W9, 6ter and Gulli), with the French version of The Traitors reaching a 33 percent share. M6 also cited last year’s sporting events, including the Rugby World Cup and FIFA Women’s World Cup, and expects similar results as official broadcaster of Euro 2024. But converting this viewership into ad revenues appears to be the struggle in the current environment.

On the streaming side, the group noted the success of its streaming service, 6play, among under-35s. This group makes up one-third of its users, according to M6, and they spend an average 53 minutes on 6play per day. The broadcaster said streaming currently accounts for 7.1 percent of TV revenues, and 5.5 percent of total viewing hours, numbers it hopes to double by putting its faith(ful) in streaming.

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