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Canal+ reduces rate of subscriber loss in France

Vivendi’s pay TV unit Canal+ managed to reduce the rate at which it is losing subscribers in metropolitan France in the quarter to September, with churn down four points to 13.4%, which the company said was a record low since the third quarter of 2012.

The company said that Canal+ was “close to achieving the objectives set” for this year, with TV activities on course to meet its goals while production arm StudioCanal may fall slightly short.

Canal+ France had 7.9 million customers at the end of the quarter, down 100,000 on the same period last year. However, revenues from TV operations in France fell slightly thanks to a decline in Canalplay subscriptions and the withdrawal of the old Canalsat offering in favour of new offerings and wholesale deals with telecom providers. The premium Canal+ channel’s individual subscriber base recorded a year-on-year increase of 227,000 customers.

Canal+ Group revenues for the third quarter amounted to €1.247 billion, more or less flat year-on-year. Nine months revenues were up 0.4% to €3.822 billion thanks to an increase in the group’s overall subscriber base from 14.8 million to 15.4 million last year.

The growth came from the pay TV outfit’s international business, while saw revenues rise 7.8% at constant currency thanks to growth in its individual subscriber base, up 726,000 year-on-year, in part due to a positive but temporary boost from the World Cup.

StudioCanal’s revenues were up 10.3% at constant currency, driven by theatrical releases and video sales, particularly of Paddington 2.

For Vivendi overall, Universal Music remains the star performer, posting revenues of €1.495 billion, up 13.3%. The music outfit’s performance contributed to Vivendi’s overall revenue gain of 5.6% for the quarter.

Vivendi has also announced that it has signed a deal with Grupo Planeta for the acquisition of 100% of Editis, the second largest French publishing group with an enterprise value of €900 million. The group said that the acquisition would be “another major step in Vivendi’s building of an integrated media, content and communications group”.