Tënk is an independent, subscription-based, video-on-demand platform dedicated to documentary or creative documentary cinema. Every week, it offers new films available online for 2 months. For subscribers, a catalog of 1,500 films is available on video on demand, or for rental, beyond their 2-month broadcast limit. Tënk is a Wolof word which means "to state a thought clearly and concisely".
In August 2015, while Tënk was still under development, the founding team led by Jean-Marie Barbe, director and producer, co-founder of the Études Générales du Film Documentaire de Lussas, and Pierre Matheus, the first general director, launched a crowdfunding campaign to finance its final production phases. Around 1,000 contributors raised nearly €35,000. At launch, the project brought together 103 members, the vast majority of professionals in the sector. In February 2016 in Lussas, they formed an anonymous collective interest cooperative company (SCIC SA) with a board of directors and initial variable capital of €66,600.
The Tënk team is located in Lussas, in Ardèche, a town of 1,200 inhabitants where there is an ecosystem of twelve structures working around nationally recognized documentary cinema. This ecosystem has organized, among other things, since 1989, the Estates General of Documentary Films. The Tënk team is based at L'Imaginaïre, a collaborative coworking building built by the Community of Municipalities Berg and Coiron, which notably houses the School of Documentary (in connection with the University of Grenoble-Alpes) and La Maison du Doc, the resource center for a database on French-speaking European documentary films of nearly 46,000 films.
A beta version was launched on July 15, 2016, in France, Switzerland, Belgium and Luxembourg. In August 2016, Tënk formalized its official launch, launched a partnership with Mediapart and offered the viewing of a new documentary every two weeks on the independent information site. After a year, Tënk announces 4,800 subscribers and the work of L'Imaginaïre is going well, which includes Tënk's studios.
In February 2018, as the site celebrated its second anniversary, with 600 documentaries broadcast and 6,800 subscribers (compared to 4,800 in August 2017), Tënk once again opened its capital. 85% of its subscribers are people linked to the profession of production of documentaries. In September 2019, he signed a new partnership with Mediapart, the documentary being according to Mediapart the natural extension of his editorial project. Following a regular call for projects, a jury rewards films working around contemporary political, social and ecological issues with a cash contribution and an industry contribution.
In February 2020, a team based in Montreal associated with the project launched a version available in Canada. In 2021, Tënk is celebrating its fifth anniversary and the redesign of its website. More than 10,000 individual subscribers and 17,000 accounts from the 76 universities, media libraries or libraries which have taken out a collective subscription are announced. The same year, Tënk launched the Oh my Doc! label with France Culture, the Cinémathèque du documentary, Les Écrans [archive] and Mediapart. to jointly promote 12 films per year, as soon as they are released.
After an expansion in Europe in 2020 in English and Italian which proved too expensive, Tënk is refocusing on French-speaking Europe from June 2022. In June 2022, a subscribers and supporters college is created to allow everyone to support the project and to participate in the decisions of the structure. Tënk has 10,500 subscribers in 2022 and 360,000 film views in 2021. In June 2023, Tënk had 214 members. 53% of regular visitors to the platform are under 35 years old while the user satisfaction rate is 89%. In September 2023, Tënk joined the Licoornes association, alongside 12 other cooperatives sharing a democratic, collective, ecological and united base.