As SVOD services, both emerging and established, continue to focus on the path to streaming profitability, Pay TV providers such as Canal+ have experienced an increase in both local and international profits. Canal+ continues to strengthen its position as the leading Pay TV service in France, fully acquiring the OCS Pay TV suite and expanding its own content offerings by adding Paramount+ (which launched in France in December) to its Pay TV package. This already includes access to Disney+ and Netflix, alongside all of the content Canal+ itself has to offer.
Canal+ Group’s strategy seems to be working in France and abroad as their subscriber count rose 7.5% last year to over 25 million, with profitability up 7% from 2021. Alongside its full acquisition of OCS, Canal+ Group also became the largest shareholder of Multichoice Group, South Africa’s biggest buyer of content, signalling its intent to widen its reach to more international markets.
Canal+ Group continues to maintain its market share in France, but Show Tracker reveals its grip on Poland needs to be evaluated further as global SVODs take over. In France, brand-new series acquisitions from Canal+ have risen over the past few years, while premieres on OCS have fallen. The service relied on its volume deal with Warner for much of its content, which is now set to instead appear on Warner’s own ‘Warner Pass’ Amazon Channel.
Disney+ overtook Canal+ in France as the service with the highest first window premieres when it launched in the market in 2021, but the inclusion of Disney+ as part of the coveted Canal+ Cine Series pack means any content success Disney+ sees is one Canal+ can benefit from too. The multitude of shows released on the recently launched Paramount+ service can also be an advantage to Canal+ as the SVOD service is now available through latter’s Pay TV package. The combined level of premieres from Canal+ and OCS in France does help push the total number of premieres exclusive to Canal+ subscribers past Disney+ however, demonstrating the Pay TV service has a strong content proposition of its own going forward.
Meanwhile in Poland, Canal+ has historically struggled against the weight of Warner, who has held a long-term presence with HBO (and eventually HBO Max) in the market. A brief win from Canal+ in premieres over Warner in 2021 did not change the overall trend as the market is now dominated by premieres on HBO Max and Disney+, with the former acting as its own aggressive buyer of third-party content too. Unlike in France, Canal+ in Poland does not offer bundles with these high-profile SVOD services included, but has started to do so with Viaplay which expanded to Poland in 2021.
The challenge that the newly acquired OCS faces with its volume deal with Warner for HBO set to end is one that its new parent has gone through in the past. Canal+ was once heavily reliant on volume deals with both Disney (at time of signing 20th Century Fox) for FX (including FX on Hulu) series as well as Paramount for Showtime TV series. The former deal was ended by Disney who have licensed all their subsequent series from these services to Disney+ with Paramount engaging in similar levels of vertical integration with Paramount+ in international markets. Canal+ now looks further to a wider variety of distributors to acquire series from rather than allowing itself to become too reliant on a smaller set of content providers.
Despite the pressure from studio SVOD expansion in France and Poland, Canal+ has been able to keep its standing as a prominent Pay TV platform, both through a strong acquisition pipeline and partnerships with those very same SVODs, turning a threat into an opportunity. Its recent acquisition of OCS will further compound their standing in mainland France while their increased holding of Multichoice marks further international growth for Canal+ in the future.