Paris-based broadcaster TV5Monde targets 100,000 free and 20,000 paid subscribers to its OTT app by the end of 2014.
Rolled out in Japan in 2006, TV5Monde has already recouped its development costs from Japanese subscriptions. The platform currently has a daily average of 1,000 primetime viewers in Japan.
“Every new market, each additional subscriber outside of Japan is a bonus,” said Yves Bigot, CEO of TV5Monde in an interview with Media Business Asia. TV5Monde has launched the player across Asia-Pacific.
Developed in partnership with Japanese technology firm, Softbank, TV5Monde’s OTT platform utilizes multicast and peer-to-peer transmission technologies, minimizing long-term bandwidth costs per subscriber.
The app is available for PC and Mac computers as well as Android and iOS devices.
TV5Monde’s OTT platform currently has negligible advertising revenue, but with in-built connections through Twitter and Facebook, Bigot hopes to use live, direct customer data to provide more attractive options for advertisers.
Agencies have already expressed interest in creating direct interactions with consumers, through targeted ads. TV5Monde intends to offer in-app transactions as well.
The free subscription replicates TV5Monde’s two regional linear channels, Asie and Pacifique, in a smaller window along side advertising, while the paid version leverages its libraries and licensed content across the francophonic world to offer full-screen viewing as well as VOD and catch-up services.
Subtitles are offered in French, English, Japanese and Korean.
“It all started with Japanese ladies between 20 and 35 living with their parents and learning French,” Bigot recounted, speaking in October on the sidelines of the recent Casbaa convention. “We discovered that they could not access the channel because their parents' network did not carry it, but they had a computer and an internet connection.”
While TV5Monde is the only French general entertainment channel in the region, Bigot said it was important to “create our own competition and make sure our subscriber stays with us.”
One group Bigot will not compete with is the pay-TV operators that carry TV5Monde’s linear channels. Although the player is priced for each market, the OTT price is never cheaper than the a-la-carte channel.
“We don’t want to be under the market,” Bigot said. “The idea is to talk to people who are not subscribing to pay-TV.”
By connecting viewers directly with its content, Bigot hopes the OTT player will reach younger viewers accustomed to watching TV on multiple devices and viewers who could not otherwise afford a pay-TV subscription.