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Canal+ makes premium channel free to view in response to Coronavirus

French pay TV operator Canal+ is to make its premium channel available free to view for anyone using a service provider-supplied box, while its paying basic-tier subscribers will be able to view premium thematic, movie and series channels with no additional payment.

Canal+ CEO Maxime Saada

In a gesture in response to the Coronavirus crisis, which has seen France this week bring into force strict controls on the movement of people outside their homes, the pay TV operator’s CEO Maxime Saada announced that the Canal+ channel would be made available unencrypted on all TV boxes, while subscribers would have access to all cinema, series, kids and documentary channels.

The changes will apply for the duration of the period in which the French population are confined to their homes.

The move is probably the most dramatic gesture so far from a European pay TV operator in response to the Coronavirus crisis. A number of operators have made some content that is normally encrypted available free of charge. Sky Deutschland, for example, last week announced that it would broadcast Saturday afternoon Bundesliga and Sunday 2.Bundesliga football games – which are being played behind closed doors – free to view on its Sky Sport News HD channel.