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Apple TV becomes first set-top box to carry French Molotov.tv video streaming service

As Apple still struggles to launch a streaming TV service in the U.S., the company is making inroads in France, partnering with a premier cord cutting service that offers access to nearly all of the country's television networks in one place.




While individual apps exist for the myriad French broadcasters, the fourth generation Apple TV is the first set top box to see the combined Molotov.tv service, previously available on mobile devices and on the desktop. Future support for the Roku and similar devices hasn't been ruled out, but the Apple TV app is being marketed as the exclusive venue for the service on the television.

Molotov.tv carries France's most watched broadcaster TF1, as well as third place M6. Other channels on the service include France Télévisions, Disney Channel, Turner, Viacom, and a large number of smaller broadcasters.

Premium channel network Canal+ was not in the initial beta program that started in October. However, on April 4, the service announced a licensing agreement bringing the company's D8, D17, and Cine+ to the paid portion of the service. As a result of the deal with Canal+, the digital service carries all of the most-watched channels in France.

France does have Netflix. However, French legislation demands that premium channels get movies two years before Netflix. Free TV channels, such as many of the ones on the service, have the ability to air movies up to a year before Netflix.

Molotov.tv appears to be the television service for cord-cutters that Apple was rumored to be pursuing in late 2015 and early 2016. The service has a mix of live and on demand programming, and is accessible not just on Wednesday's Apple TV launch, but across the entire iOS ecosystem as well.

The free service has 35 channels including the major broadcast networks in France, and offers users 10 hours of on-demand viewing per month.

Paid Molotov.tv subscribers get 100 hours of on-demand viewing a month, and access to 37 premium channels for €10 ($11) a month. Advanced search for directors, actors, and specific content, plus scheduling features are available to both levels of subscription.

Efforts made by Apple to build a similar service in the U.S. appear to have been met with failure. Apple's aggressive negotiation tactics with content providers have been cited as the reason for the collapse of talks with the U.S. broadcasters.