French broadcasting conglomerate M6 Group has entered into exclusive negotiations with Lagardère Active to acquire its TV business, including free-to-air digital kidsnet Gulli, two Canal J pay-TV channels, various catch-up TV platforms and an international distribution business unit. Lagardère is the market leader in live and on-demand children’s TV in France, and this deal is part of a strategic plan at M6 to strengthen its family content offering and increase advertising/digital revenue, as well as to grow internationally.
In 2018, free-to-air channel Gulli attracted a 16.3% share of its target audience (equal to 1.7% of the four-plus viewing demo) and cornered an advertising market share of almost 40% with that audience. Its kids content includes Tahiti Quest, Oggy and the Cockroaches and The Loud House. Recently, the channel co-commissioned Boy Girl Dog Cat Mouse Cheese with CBBC from co-producers Cloudco Entertainment, Watch Next Media and Kavaleer Prodcutions. It also greenlit Gaumont’s 2D-animated comedy series Bionic Max, and plans to air the series early this year.
Its two pay-TV channels for young viewers are Canal J, which is France’s first children’s channel for ages six to 12, and Tiji for kids ages three to six.
The deal also encompasses: catch-up TV platforms Gulli Replay and Gulli Max, which generated a combined total of more than 300 million video views in 2018; international channels Gulli Africa (French-speaking Africa), Gulli Bil Arabi, Gulli Girl (Middle East) and Tiji Russia; and other entertainment and music pay-TV channels such as Elle Girl TV, MCM, RFM TV and MCM Top.
In 2017, Lagardère’s TV business earned consolidated revenue of US$112 million.
The acquisition is subject to consultation with employee representation bodies of both Lagardère and M6, as well as approval by French broadcasting authority Conseil Supérieur de l’Audiovisuel and the Competition Authorities.
These assets would join M6′s portfolio of channels, which currently includes free-to-air nets M6, W9 and 6ter.