Canal + relies on the Champions League, original creation and documentaries

The meeting had a taste of life before the crisis sanitary. Tuesday, August 31, Canal + had rented the Potocki hotel, a large residence located a stone’s throw from the Arc de Triomphe, in Paris, to present the novelties of its return to school. Maxime Saada started the festivities by welcoming the latest figures: “We have doubled the number of subscribers worldwide in five years, and we have regained growth in France”, said the boss of the pay television group, setting the target of customers at 30 million for 2025. In the quarter ended at the end of June, Canal + had 22.1 million subscribers worldwide (+ 8% on a year), including 3.5 million to Canal + channels in France (+ 3.5%).

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To improve the performance of its channels, some of which are still in deficit, the Vivendi subsidiary will launch Canal + Docs, dedicated to this genre, and Canal + Kids, aimed at children on September 9. “It had been years since we launched any channels, said its managing director, Gérald-Brice Viret. The documentary is one of the first criteria for subscription. We are going to increase our investment. “ One hundred and fifty documentaries have already been pre-purchased, including twenty for this year, enriching the some two thousand titles in the catalog. The viewer will be able in particular to discover Iggy Pop, told by Antoine de Caunes, the life of Tina Turner, or that of the Bee Gees. Canal + has just broadcast “Kabul, in the heart of the Taliban”, a documentary by Régis Le Sommier produced by Tony Comiti.

The investigation, which has long made the success of Canal +, but was little appreciated by Vincent Bolloré, will she make a comeback? In 2015, Vivendi’s largest shareholder confessed to union representatives that he did not want to get angry with clients or partners. A film on Crédit Mutuel had even been canceled. This genre had since disappeared from the chains. “We do not forbid anything”, evaded Christine Cauquelin, in charge of the documentary.

“It’s the best contract we’ve ever had”

Canal + is also counting on original creation, with thirteen new products this year. “The investment will double”, said Gérald-Brice Viret, without giving more details. Jonathan Cohen’s series, The flame, will be entitled to a second season touring in Mexico. Alex Lutz (ex- “Catherine et Liliane”) will be released Vengeance at the triple gallop, “A tribute to [s]a grandmother, who adored, in 1991, the American series ”, according to the artist, and Julie Delpy, On the verge, a series on four women aged 40 to 50.

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But it is above all on sport that the Vivendi subsidiary is betting. A brand new set of one thousand square meters will host the “Canal Champions Club”, a new program devoted to the Champions League, a competition acquired for the sum of around 300 million euros per year. “It’s the best contract we’ve ever had with the two best posters and all the abstracts. We have been waiting for this since 2016 ”, enthusiastically one of the pillars of the channel, the host Hervé Mathoux. To reduce the bill, Canal + shares the broadcasting of the competition with SFR.

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Canal +, on the other hand, spoke lip service to Ligue 1. It still disputes the arrival of Amazon, which has recovered the eight weekly matches of the ephemeral Mediapro for 250 million euros per year, while it retains two matches acquired in 2018 for 332 million euros. But, if it keeps a low profile, the subsidiary of Vivendi intends to exploit its lot, which allows it to choose twenty-eight of the thirty-eight best posters of the season. If we add the Champions League, 75% of the matches played by Lionel Messi at PSG will be visible on the channels of Canal +. A great prospect in terms of subscriptions.

New commercial offers

It remains to be seen how Canal +, which had expressed its desire to do without the French football championship, considers the rest. Is the band really hoping to quit, as he said in the spring? Or does he just want to renegotiate with the Professional Football League (LFP)? For the moment, he is still fighting against the LFP. In the meantime, he has renewed the rights of sports less contested by competition: he keeps Formula 1 until the end of 2024, the Moto GP until 2029, and the World Rally Championship until the beginning of 2030. .

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New commercial offers have also been imagined. Canal + Docs and Kids are part of a new pack also including the other Canal + channels and the best of the Champions League and Ligue 1, at a price of 20.99 euros per month for one year. The fan of series and films will spend 34.99 euros for Canal +, Disney, Netflix and OCS. And the sports aficionado, the same amount to access Canal + Sport, BeIN Sports and Eurosport. Amazon has publicly said it does not wish to be distributed by the Vivendi subsidiary, preferring to reserve football for its own customers.