France Telecom To Invests in Movies; Hopes For Multiplatform Content Deals Out of It

Ah, to be a telco these days…the existential angst. France Telecom, one of the biggest telecom groups, has created a unit to invest in co-production and acquire acquisition rights for French and European films, and that it aims to co-produce 10-15 movies per year together jointly with “key figures in the sector.” This is the first time FT has gone into original content production. The idea is similar to what has happened in Japan, and especially Korea, where the big telco incumbents are taking stake in entertainment companies, in the hope that they could feed the distributions chains with all kinds of multiplatform content.
It said that it has an investment chest worth around Eur 10 million, though that figure could increase.
Ovum: To most people across the industry, this news opens a new era in the life of a telco company. Where else would this happen but in France, the country so passionately devoted to its own production industry, content and culture…..The unit will be part of France Telecom’s content division, headed by Patricia Langrand, a veteran pulled directly from the French film world.
WSJ: FT has been investing heavily to offer exclusive content in order to distinguish itself from competitors. The company has built a 400-person content division to acquire the rights to movies, TV shows, sports and music.FT’s mobile-phone unit, Orange, acquired exclusive rights to broadcast French soccer-league games over mobile phones and offers 52 TV channels over mobile phones. Last year, FFT’s mobile-phone, digital-TV and Internet customers could download ringtones and watch Madonna’s new single “Hung Up” weeks before Warner Music Group Corp. released the album in France.