Paris (AFP)

France Télévisions is preparing a serial adaptation of "La peste", famous novel by Albert Camus, announced Thursday the number 2 of the public group, Stéphane Sitbon-Gomez, who intends to "think outside the box" to compete with Netflix, "threat number 1 "from traditional channels.

For six months, "all platforms wanted to adapt" this monument of French literature, which has benefited from a strong renewed interest with the coronavirus pandemic, underlined the director of antennas and programs of France Télévisions during a videoconference with the Association of Media Journalists (AJM).

This series, entrusted to Siècle Productions and screenwriter Gilles Taurand, will be broadcast on France 2, its format still in the development phase, Mr. Sitbon-Gomez told AFP.

"It is a daring in which we believe, in the context that we are currently experiencing both a rise in radicalism on all sides" and a health crisis, explained the number 2 of France Televisions.

Building on the success of French productions broadcast on Monday evening instead of American thrillers (the "Castle" series), such as the mini-series devoted to General de Gaulle or the one retracing the tragic fate of Laetitia Perrais, the public group intends to satisfy a audience "waiting for a more demanding genre of fiction".

“The platforms force us to pull ourselves to the top,” he said, citing the series “The Lady's Game”, a “magnificent” series with phenomenal success on Netflix.

"This forces (traditional) linear chains around the world to question themselves."

"A few years ago, perhaps we would have been less likely to go on this kind of proposals, literary adaptations (works) a little too patrimonial", added Stéphane Sitbon-Gomez.

When Netflix arrived in France "we said to ourselves" that it was "a competitor to Canal +".

But "we realized that it is the competitor of free-to-air channels. When you have 9 million subscribers, three users per account", that makes nearly "30 million French people likely to watch Netflix, we are directly in competition ", underlined Mr. Sitbon-Gomez.

But "television has not said its last word," he insisted.

© 2020 AFP