Canal+ Groupe is the dominant force in French pay television. Canal+ itself is the umbrella for more than 20 different premium channels and a small collection of free strands including general entertainment channel C8 (formerly D8), music channel CStar (ex-D17), and CNews (the old i-Tele). These are broadcast by cable or via satellite broadcaster CanalSat, which also offers other third-party TV and radio channels. Sport and movies are its two key offerings. Among other exclusive deals, the group has broadcast rights for almost 90% of French Ligue 1 soccer games as well as a large package of Champions League games, and also first broadcast rights deals with several major studios. Associated company StudioCanal is Europe's leading film and television production studio, actively involved in the funding and production of European as well as English-language feature films and television programs. It is also Europe's biggest film distributor, and controls the world's third largest home entertainment library. Yet despite its high profile and influence, Canal+ audience share remains small, with just 1.8% of France's prime-time audience at the end of 2017. Free-to-air C8 had around 3%, well behind domestic rivals TF1, France 2, M6 and France 3. The French business has been under intense pressure for several years, with a steady decline in direct paid subscribers - from over 6m in 2015 to 4.95m by the end of 2017 - as well as revenues. However that loss was partly offset by viewers through newly created wholesale partnerships with Orange, Free and Bouygues, and growth in international markets - including Francophone Africa, Poland and Vietnam - where the group has almost another 7m subscribers. Revenues for 2017 were flat at €5.25bn. Jean-Christophe Thiery is chairman with Maxime Saada as general manager. For regulatory reasons, the Canal+ Groupe has only a controlling 51.5% shareholding in the Canal+ broadcast channels, with the remaining shares publicly held. It has full control of the Canalsat platform and Studiocanal production division. The group is itself owned by French conglomerate Vivendi, whose predecessor company was one of the original investors in Canal+ when it launched in 1983. It has gradually accumulated additional shares, finally buying out minority shareholder Lagardere in 2013. Adbrands no longer profiles this company but subscribers may access account assignments and contact information. The searchable account assignments database is available to full subscribers to Adbrands.net premium services.
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Who are the competitors of Canal+? See also Media Sector for competitive companies
Capsule checked 24th March 2017
Recent stories from Adbrands Weekly Update:
Adbrands Weekly Update 8th Mar 2018: War broke out in the French TV industry between leading commercial broadcaster TF1 and satellite platform Canal+. The two companies failed to agree terms for the renewal of the contract under which Canal+ distributes TF1's free-to-air channels to its customers. TF1 is asking Canal+ to pay a comparatively modest carriage charge of around €20m; the Vivendi-owned platform has refused to do so, and took TF1's feeds off the air last Friday. Under pressure from the Ministry of Culture, France's audiovisual regulator intervened to mediate between the two sides. Canal+ eventually restored satellite service yesterday, but negotiations are continuing over broadband customers. TF1 is also embroiled in a fee dispute with telecoms giant Orange over distribution of its channels to broadband customers.
Adbrands Weekly Update 22nd Feb 2018: Ads of the Week: "That's Got To Hurt". French creative agency BETC can always be relied upon to come up with something great for long-time client Canal+. Ads like March of the Emperors, The Cupboard, The Bear and others are among the best and most awarded ads to have originated in France over the past decade. Here's the latest addition to that impressive body of work, to mark this coming weekend's UEFA battle between top football teams Paris St Germain and Olympique de Marseille. A bit of voodoo is all well and fine, but only if you're the only side practising it...
Adbrands Weekly Update 22nd Feb 2018: Revenues have been rising steadily at French conglomerate Vivendi since Vincent Bollore took control of the group in 2014. His predecessors had been steadily divesting what they considered to be non-core assets; he has just as steadily been moving back into areas such as telecoms and gaming (and indeed marketing) that had previously been exited. As a result, revenues have rebounded from a low of just over €10bn in 2014 to €12.4bn for last year, including a part-year contribution from newly consolidated Havas. Attributable net income was slightly lower at €1.2bn, but the adjusted figure excluding exceptionals jumped by almost 75%. Challenges remain, not least at Canal+, where revenues were flat at €5.3bn. Continuing declines in France - where direct subscriber numbers fell below 5m at the end of the year, from over 6m in 2015 - were offset by growth elsewhere, primarily in Africa and to a lesser extent Poland. However, Universal Music is enjoying the benefits of the resurgence in the global music business, with revenues up 8% to €5.7bn, helped by a near-one-third increase in revenues from streaming to almost €2bn. Universal alone contributes over 70% of Vivendi's operating profit.
Adbrands Weekly Update 8th Dec 2016: Ads of the Week: "Kitchen". Client Canal (formerly Canal+) always inspires Havas-owned BETC to turn out its very best work, and this latest is no exception. We've seen miniature versions of movie moments like this before in promo ads, but not presented in such an imaginative, and distinctly French, setting. Those little touches! The dinosaur eggs, the football caviar, the sliced cartoons, grated police car and de-shelled knight - all superb. Great work.
Adbrands Weekly Update 16th Jun 2016: Vivendi's attempts to acquire exclusive rights to air al-Jazeera's BeIn Sports channel on its Canal+ platform were blocked by French regulators. Vivendi had agreed to take an exclusive feed from BeIn for €1.5bn, but regulators found this would give Canal+ around 80% of live sports broadcast rights in France, and a virtual monopoly of French Ligue 1 football matches. BeIn has spent heavily to acquire football rights in France. Among other coups, it secured exclusive pay-TV rights to all the current Euro 2016 tournament.
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