French startup Molotov is better known for its TV streaming service in France. The company has attracted millions of users that use it to watch live TV, record movies and TV shows in the cloud, play past TV content and access on-demand channels. The company is launching Molotov Solutions, a B2B division that will build and operate the TV platform of other companies.
Molotov is a sort of YouTube TV or Hulu with Live TV for French TV — except that Molotov launched before those other services. In many ways, Molotov has been a trailblazer when it comes to over-the-top TV streaming, often featured at Apple keynotes and on Google’s Play Store.
Instead of relying on a set-top box, Molotov works more like Spotify. You download a client on your devices, connect with your login and password and access all your TV content. You can start watching on one device and finish on another. You can record something from your phone and watch it on your TV.
The company is using its technical experience in this field to help other companies build their own streaming services. Molotov Solutions plans to work with media companies as well as telecom companies.
In many ways, it reminds me of BAMTech, a spin-off company from Major League Baseball Advanced Media (MLBAM). It built the streaming service of MLB.tv and then built other streaming services, such as HBO Now in 2015. In 2017, Disney acquired BAMTech and the company has been busy building ESPN+ and Disney+ since then.
Molotov Solutions offers a complete OTT platform. It can operate the backend, ingest live and on-demand video and distribute your content on many different platforms, such as iOS, Apple TV, Android, Android TV, smart TVs from Samsung and LG, desktop browsers and soon video game consoles.
“We take advantage of the excellent product that is Molotov. Except that it’s a service business this time. It’s another team and another way to work. We had to create a service company within Molotov, an internal agency,” Francois Le Pichon, who is going to head Molotov Solutions, told me.
By default, Molotov Solutions operates as a white-label service provider. When you choose Molotov Solutions for your streaming service, you get your own apps with your own logo. Molotov runs the servers, but everything is compartmentalized between each client.
The company is already working with a few clients but there’s nothing to announce just yet. There’s a telecom company with clients in multiple countries, a media company that wants to distribute its own content, some early talks with various telecom companies — those companies usually work with traditional IT consulting firms to outsource those projects.
There’s also the interesting example of a media company that runs multiple services in multiple countries. This company in particular wants to simplify its offering by switching everything over to Molotov Solutions — one streaming platform for multiple subsidiaries.
I hope Molotov is going to communicate about those partners and their names in the near future. Molotov expects clients to sign multi-year contracts. The company will provide on-going support and updates to those clients.
“Eventually, we’re thinking about spinning off this business, raising funds and expanding internationally,” Molotov co-founder and CEO Jean-David Blanc told me. And for now, it represents a good opportunity to add a revenue stream.