French pay TV operator Canal+ has applied to renew its digital-terrestrial licence when it expires at the end of this year amid questioning by the company’s CEO as to whether it would continue to distribute its services over DTT.
Canal+ was the only candidate to submit an application to media regulator the CSA to provide services over the frequencies it currently uses for its service.
Canal+ will present its plans at a formal audience with the CSA on September 30.
CEO Maxime Saada has in recent weeks raised a question mark over the pay TV operator’s commitment to a continued presence on the terrestrial platform. Saada has said that the costs of distribution on DTT are extremely high and lamented a recent upping of VAT from 5.5% to 10% that will cost Canal+ an estimated €120 million.
Saada nevertheless has maintained that Canal+ will be willing to continue to distribute its service on the platform “under conditions”.
Excluding second TVs in homes that receive Canal+ by satellite or IPTV, the terrestrial platform accounts for about 500,000 homes out of the pay TV operator’s total base in France. An additional 200,000 are estimated to use the service to watch the pay TV operator’s signal on second screens.
While the operator could try to migrate its DTT subscribers to IPTV or satellite distribution if it withdraws, it is believed that up to half of those who receive the signal terrestrially could churn, according to local reports, leading to a significant loss of subscribers and revenue.
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