This past summer, one of the biggest news stories to come out was that Allociné founder Jean-David Blanc had started up another venture, Molotov.tv. As mysterious as it was volatile, Molotov’s first announcement came not only that it had registered as an official cable TV distributor with France’s broadcasting regulatory body, but that its founders weren’t just scrappy coders looking to disrupt the longest reigning medium: they were veterans of it. Jean-Marc Denoual, former head of Strategy & Innovation at TF1 (France’s leading television channel), Pierre Lescure, founder & former CEO of Canal+ (France’s equivalent of HBO that built its own Netflix-like offer in France), & Kevin Kuipers, a veteran of Jean-David Blanc’s Allociné & serial entrepreneur, have used their collective experience & network to set up what will surely be this year’s biggest revolution in TV.
Already backed by €10 Million from IDInvest, business angels, and the type of Friends &Family that every 20-something founders wishes would answer their emails, Molotov has been welcoming journalists (including this one) to demo Molotov before its launch – the only rule is you can’t talk about what Molotov does.
How do I convince you that Molotov is amazing without talking about the features?
The first thing you need to know is that Molotov’s ambition, as well as its design is global. Jean-David Blanc is spending much of his time in Los Angeles these days, and, as Variety reported earlier this month, Molotov is currently seeking to raise $100 Million and is considering launching in the US first (or, more likely, at the same time as in France, given they’ve already been cleared by broadcasting authorities).
As a product, Molotov will allow users to sort TV content by everything from actor to genre, and will simultaneously give free access to free-to-view cable channels, while taking a commission off of users who sign up for connected pay-to-view channels lie Canal+ (users with existing subscriptions will already have access to those channels, as well).
Sitting down with Jean-David Blanc this past summer, we spoke a lot of the restrictions that come with working inside of the TV market. Although services like Hulu & Apple TV have managed to get distribution rights for TV content, there has been a serious lack of innovation in the way users interact with TV content. Everything from browsing channels to engaging in social conversations around your favorite shows (I’m looking at you, GoT nerds), Blanc broke down TV into its fundamental parts and worked with those building blocks to make something that looks more like Netflix or YouTube if either had ever tried for creating a real live-TV experience.