Speaking at the Rencontres Cinématographiques event in Dijon on Friday, Belmer, who named last week as director-general of Canal Plus Group, said that there was no need to make any distinction between the windows for small films and major movies. While he said Canal Plus was not totally opposed to discussing an evolution of the rules, this could only be with a view to maximising the value of content and not in the name of an “ideology” that everything digital was good.
Belmer’s views seem to mark a change from an indication earlier this year that Canal Plus was ready to bring forward the distribution window for certain factual and niche films, making them available in subscription VOD services 22 months after theatrical release rather than 36. Since then, however, the country’s competition regulator has ruled that Canal Plus cannot sell SVOD rights exclusively as one of the conditions for renewed approval of its 2007 merger with TPS.
Belmer was speaking against the background of the enquiry by former Canal Plus chief Pierre Lescure into France’s support for the media industry and growing pressure from some quarter for changes in the way windows are structured to accommodate new digital distribution platforms.