European broadcasters team up to take on the likes of Netflix

European broadcasters team up to take on the likes of Netflix
Copyright Reuters/Mike Blake
By Pascale Davies
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France, Italy, and Germany's public broadcasters are joining forces to take on the US streaming giants.


Faced with growing dominance in the streaming market by US services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime - Europe has taken it upon itself to try and combat the leaders in digital TV.

A production agreement, called The Alliance, is in the works by the French public broadcaster France Televisions, Italy's RAI TV, and Germany's ZDF.

In a joint statement, they said the aim is to co-finance innovative, higher-profile, and generally “bigger TV series for viewers in Europe and all around the world.” Adding that it has been prompted by "especially OTT players," which "is upsetting the European audiovisual landscape at large."

The statement also quoted France Televisions CEO Delphine Ernotte Cunci as saying that European public broadcasters invest an annual total of €14 billion in original programming, whereas she says Netflix invests “only €7 billion.” Cunci has called for the public broadcasters to combine resources in order to have greater weight “on the international scene.”

But the Alliance is also open to other potential EU broadcast partnerships on a project-by-project basis. That could see the likes of Spain's RTVE, Belgium's RTBF, and Switzerland's RTS also involved.

The pact says it sees itself as "a flexible and project-driven organisation." That means private members who are not The Alliance members can participate too, so long as members keep each other informed about European co-production projects that each of them is planning in what would amount to a first-look arrangement.

Three Alliance projects have already been announced. Viewers can expect to see "Leonardo," a series about the artist Leonardo da Vinci, "Mirage" an espionage series set in Dubai, and "Eternal City," a series about the murder of a French idol set in Rome's La Dolce Vita period.

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