French private broadcaster TF1 has claimed a world first for its second-screen app enabling instant replay. Called Connect, the free app from MyTF1 is part of TF1’s response to increasing competition in the crowded French commercial and pay TV markets intensified by the entrance of OTT players.
This free service delivers synchronized content to smartphones, tablets or PCs, enabling the viewer to pause and rewind on the second screen while the program continues on the primary TV. Starting with entertainment, it will be extended to sports and news from March 2013, with trials on 26 March during the French vs. Spain FIFA 2014 World Cup qualifying football match. The service is available via the VOD offer MyTF1 that achieved 1.3 billion videos viewed in 2012 and 15 million hours of videos requested each month.
The app also enables viewers to capture 30-second clips from the primary screen and send these to friends via Facebook or Twitter. The social interaction will be vital for strengthening the link between the TV and its audience, according to Régis Ravanas, TF1 deputy managing director.
"TF1's TV and Twitter audience share reached 37.9% in 2012 ," Ravanas said.
Meanwhile, TF1 Is considering extending MyTF1 by launching a subscription VOD (SVOD) service in direct response to competition from Amazon’s LoveFilm, which is expected to launch an SVOD service in France this March, alongside a similar offering from AB Group.
However, TF1 has gained a powerful ally from an unusual quarter, as French supermarket chain E.Leclerc is launching a pay TV service for DTT called Reglo TV. E.Leclerc has agreed with TF1 to sell subscriptions to its pay channels, with two options, one costing €3.95 a month offering Eurosport and LCI (news), and one costing €7.95 monthly for Eurosport, LCI, Paris Première and TF6.