Canal+ is cutting the price of its premium channel, introducing subscriptions with no fixed commitment and abandoning the practice of controlling the subscriptions sold by ISPs – enabling the latter to market its channels as part of a bundled offering – in a concerted drive to reverse the decline in its domestic base and increase pay TV penetration.
Canal+ CEO Maxime Saada told French daily Le Figaro that the pay TV broadcaster would offer its premium channel for €20 a month – as against the current €40 – for viewing online, on tablets and on smartphones without an ongoing commitment as part of its plan to extend its base and appeal to younger consumers.
Saada said that Canal+ would propose a more “modular and more accessible” offering in October based on genres such as cinema, sport and kids content to appeal to individual tastes.
The Canal+ chief said that the broadcaster would make its content available on all screens and would add content including music and video games to its offerings, creating an overall portfolio of services “bigger than Netflix”.
Saada also told Le Figaro that Canal+ would introduce a new “ultra-sophisticated” set-top box early in 2017.
Ending the practice of controlling the subscriptions sold through ISPs and forming partnerships with the service providers to enable them to sell converged offerings is also seen as a key part of the plan.
Canal+ has already struck a deal with Orange that will see the pair launch a joint offering, expected to be unveiled in October, limited to Orange’s 1.7 million fibre customers. Orange is expected to market a bouquet of 30 Canalsat channels for about €10 a month, branded as ‘TV by Canal’.
Saada told Le Figaro that telecom operators now accounted for about 60-70% of new subscribers and confirmed that pay TV operator is currently in talks with Free to market a similar offer, but to its wider base of six million fixed-line subscribers.
According to financial daily Les Echos, Canal+ is hoping the range of measures it is introducing will help expand the pay TV universe in France, currently limited to about 25% of homes. The paper said that Canal+ is also mulling a similar deal with Bouygues Telecom.
According to Les Echos, Canal+ is also planning to broadcast key Friday and Saturday football matches on the Canal+ Sport channel in place of the flagship Canal+ channel, and has also put pressure on the French football league to move the timing of evening matches to 21:00 instead of 20:45, but without success.
Separately, Canal+ is expanding its live events project reserved for subscribers, initiated earlier this summer with a concert at the Paris Olympia.
The extended Canaltour series of events will kick off on September 28 at the Théatre Femina de Bordeaux with an event hosted by Canal+ personalities Marie Portolano and Laurent Weil.
The broadcaster will organize a further four events between the end October and January in Lille, Nantes, Marseille and Lyon. The events will feature artists and comedians alongside leading Canal+ personalities, and will be accompanied by 360° video coverage online.
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