Molotov relies on advertising to bounce back
Molotov, the French pioneer of online television, wants to beef up its platform to better…
Molotov, the French pioneer of online television, wants to beef up its platform to better ride the wave of ad-supported streaming. Two years after ping under the American flag, he thus hopes to achieve profitability.
Originally built around a model of distribution of the PAF’s existing historical channels to capture audiences and acquire a base of subscribers to its channels or storage services, Molotov had also started in 2020 an offer of AVoD (“advertising video on demand” or streaming video funded by advertising) called “Mango”. Thursday, he abandoned this logo but not his ambition in AVoD, pushed under the Molotov brand, better known in France.
Even if the number of monthly users remains a closely guarded secret, it would be equivalent to the number of subscribers of the second or third French telecom operator, ie 6 to 7 million. A repository of data on the behavior of French people and their tastes in terms of video…
Sluggish advertising market
But so far, Molotov has picked up only the crumbs of AVoD’s rise. In this segment, growth is in double digits with increasingly intense competition in France with TF1, M6 and Pluto TV. (Paramount), set out to conquer ad-supported streaming in a sluggish environment for traditional TV advertising.
At Fubo, the parent company of Molotov, which generates most of its turnover through the marketing of subscriptions, advertising revenues already exceed 100 million dollars and the group has revised its revenue forecasts upwards, now aiming for around $1.25 billion in total this year. However, investors still have to be convinced. The title had fallen sharply after the announcement of the takeover of Molotov in November 2021, a “deal” mainly financed by shares. Also due to the crisis affecting the media sector, its valuation has fallen by more than 90% in a year and a half.
At its level, Molotov generated around twenty million euros in revenue in 2022, mainly thanks to its subscriptions. With 379,000 followers at the end of March, their level is up 24% over one year – but remains below a peak of more than 400,000 obtained at the end of 2022 thanks to the Football World Cup. Within two or three years, advertising should weigh around half of the revenues of the platform co-founded by Jean-David Blanc. While still claiming a “freemium” aggregator model, Molotov aims to become profitable as early as 2025.
In terms of content, its AVoD offer will offer a bouquet of thematic channels (cinema, kids, etc.) under the Molotov brand, but also a handful of FAST (“free ad-supported streaming television”) event and targeted channels (“Alert to Malibu”… ). In the coming weeks, 30 series and 100 films will be added to its catalog with the aim of having a more feminine and family cinema offer.
In the wake of a rather active Fubo in sport, Molotov will also take his first steps there by broadcasting MMA fights. But, for the moment, it is not aiming for premium rights, explains Grégory Samak, its general manager.
Finally, Molotov also creates an “advertising network”, inspired by American practices where distributors aggregate the inventories of channels on their offers and receive commissions along the way, underlines Béatrice Leroux-Barraux, director of advertising activities. Enough to enrich the data and offer even more targeted campaigns. Molotov claims to have already signed with two partner agencies, whose names remain confidential.