Patrice courtaban is the COO of TV5MONDE in the United States. TV5 is one of the largest international television networks, broadcasting in about 200 countries. His responsibilities include programming development, marketing, and distribution.
For the past few years, Patrice has positioned TV5 in the United States as a premier channel in an extremely competitive environment, this is not small feat for a network broadcasting exclusively in French.
We have asked Patrice Courtaban his opinion on subjects related to TV5Monde in the US.
The current and global health crisis has slowed down many industries. Entertainment and TV broadcasting are affected on many levels.
Music Partner: In your quality of COO of TV5MONDE USA, what has changed in your everyday operations?
Patrice Courtaban: Since mid-March, the majority of TV5MONDE employees began working from home, and our customer service lines have received twice as many requests than usual with an increased demand and interest for the network. Fortunately, we’ve been able to maintain the transmission of all our networks and on-demand services, so our viewers are able to watch news coverage from all our partners, as well as, series, films, documentaries, and lifestyle programming. With some of the stay-at-home restrictions being lifted, we’ve been able to resume TV5MONDE- productions of newscasts and regular programs in our Paris studio.
MP: With a reduced amount of new content available, how do you organize the programing of TV5Monde USA?
PC: Our newscasts and regular program productions have been affected by the stay-at-home restrictions, and obviously all live sport programming has been put on “pause.” However, we’ve been able to maintain all other programs on air including, series, documentaries, films, partner networks’newscasts and children’s programs which have been in high demand during the last few months.
MP: Do you see a “silver lining” in these difficult times?
PC: With most of France now returning to work, our daily current affairs programs and TV5MONDE productions have resumed. Our live sports broadcast of the 2020-2021 season for Ligue 1 soccer and complementary programming is scheduled to return August 23
MP: Under your leadership, TV5Monde USA is reaching an ever-increasing number of viewers, how do you source content of interest for the channel?
PC: In addition to our partners stations in France, Belgium, Switzerland, Canada and Québec, we work directly with main distributors to acquire films, series, documentaries, and children's programs.
MP: As a TV channel, do you produce some of your own content?
PC: We produce a variety of programs: daily newscasts and current affairs shows (up to 6 hour per day), live TV specials, and lifestyle shows such as #Version Française and Epicerie Fine. Additionally, we have a USA-based production, Rendez-vous d’Amérique that highlights the latest Franco-cultural happenings in the USA with topics that vary from the talents at the Academy Awards to the Francophone Village at the CES show in Las Vegas
MP: TV5 Monde is pluralistic, cultural channel, broadcasted in French, its presence on cable, satellite, and OTT, makes it on competition for viewers audience with all other channels. Is there specifically one you are considering your direct competition or benchmark?
PC: TV5MONDE is unique as it provides audiences with a diverse programming lineup of films, series, newscasts, and lifestyle shows with English subtitles. Yes, there is French content available particularly films and series on streaming platforms, but it's a more limited offering. One of our main advantages is that we are available through all the main distribution platforms in the USA – cable, satellite and streaming. In fact, 90 million US households subscribe to a pay-tv offering.
MP: Looking at the development of the channel in the U.S, what are you the proudest of?
PC: The feedback we're getting from our subscribers, our customer base is very committed, and the average viewer watches more than 2 hours per day, (which represents more than 60% of their entire video consumption time). Additionally, we continue to partner with leading cable, satellite and OTT/streaming providers nationwide to increase our television offering. Currently TV5MONDE USA operates 6 television services which are available to nearly 50 million US cable, satellite and OTT/streaming homes.
MP: Which markets do you buy your content from?
PC: We position ourselves as a premium content offering, so our goal is to bring high-quality, international content to our US viewers. TV5MONDE acquires a large quantity of programs, including films, series, documentaries, lifestyle shows, news and sports directly from leading distributors and rightsholders from France, Belgium, Switzerland, Canada, Québec, and Africa.
MP: Do you believe the broadcasting industry needs to innovate on new models and processes, to deliver more programs with lesser budgets?
PC: New technologies have definitely helped us bring our content to the USA in a more cost-effective way, whether it is a linear network or an on demand offering. All our services are delivered to our partner distributors through point to point fiber system
MP: With its profit-sharing program, turning soundtracks into sources of profit, Music Partner is shaking up the way soundtrack music is produced and licensed. What do you think of their model?
PC: The Music Partner model is innovative. It’s a great option for content producers who are looking for a “one stop” partner for all their soundtrack needs.
MP: How do you see the future, short and long term?
PC: In our industry cord-cutting will probably continue, but it is anticipated to slow down. Traditional pay-tv companies such as cable and telcos still have a strong competitive advantage as they control most residential broadband connections in the USA, and they offer competitive bundles with Internet, phone and streaming services. We also anticipate further consolidation in the sector as there is a limit on how many services consumers can sign up for.
MP: What is your next challenge?
PC: We continue to monitor closely industry trends to understand where and how people will watch content tomorrow. Right now streaming continues to grow, and we see more opportunities with new potential partnerships in 2020