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Multi-Market Acquisitions are Key to the Future of Canal+


Jack Thomas Manager

In an acquisition market where third-party buyers are not only having to contend with major studios holding back their content for their own D2C services, but those same services leveraging their multi-market presence to compete against them in the bidding wars for content, traditional broadcast buyers are likely to continue to struggle to acquire US TV series.

Show Tracker reveals how Canal+, one of the traditional heavy-weight Pay TV operators in Europe, could leverage its own multi-market presence more in the acquisition space, with the group beginning to acquire more TV series for both France and Poland than in previous TV seasons.

Proportionally in more recent seasons around 20% of new show acquisitions by the Canal+ Group have premiered on both its Polish and French services, but there is still a considerable number of shows being acquired for one market and not the other. Both services operate in very different markets - while France has generally lower levels of vertical integration compared to its European counterparts, Poland is one of the most prolific - being one of the few with a D2C presence from virtually every studio including Warner, Paramount, Lionsgate and most recently Disney.

In France, Canal+ has historically engaged with volume deals with the likes of Disney (at the time 20th Century Fox) for FX scripted series and Paramount for Showtime series. In Poland however, no such volume deals exist and yet Canal+ have managed to premiere more new acquired shows in the past four seasons in Poland than in France. In the most recent season the presence of the Showtime volume deal in France is still present in the data, making Paramount the largest supplier to Canal+ group in an otherwise diverse selection of content suppliers.

With the launch of Paramount+ in France in December 2022, provided the volume deal is able to come to a close in time, the pipeline of Showtime originals is likely to be diverted to Paramount’s SVOD service, as it has started to do in the UK following the recent launch of Paramount+ there. Disney no longer surfaces as a supplier of TV series to Canal+ in either France or Poland, with ‘A Teacher’ being the last new show premiere from their longstanding FX volume deal to appear on Canal+, as Disney is now diverting everything to Disney+. Canal+ France will still be able to benefit despite this apparent loss of new series as the service will expand its super aggregator bundle even further, allowing Canal+ subscribers to bundle the newly launched Paramount+ alongside Disney+ and Netflix.

This season the multi-market premieres have been limited so far to ‘This is Going to Hurt’ from BBC Studios and ‘The Responder’ from Fremantle, with Canal+ itself engaging in its own vertical integration to add to this with StudioCanal’s ‘Ridley Road’. Canal+ across both markets has long prioritised enhanced catch-up for its acquisitions, giving its subscribers the opportunity to watch all episodes of a show on-demand.

While other international broadcasters have expanded their digital-only premiere activity to fight back against the likes of Netflix and Studio SVODs in their home markets, Canal+ has largely kept to linear premieres with catch-up online. That is not to say Canal+ does not give due priority to its online platform, every linear premiere will have a significant digital footprint either as a weekly release or a boxset. Its subscribers can even opt to sign up for a digital-only version of Canal+, without committing to a set-top-box or dish.

While becoming a super-aggregator for some of the most lauded SVOD services is one step to maintaining subscriber growth for Canal+, without a steady stream of English language content onto their own services they may struggle in the future to prevent churn. By taking a more active approach in their negotiations with distributors to go after multi-market acquisitions it may make them more attractive clients for their content. HBO Max has long been a prolific buyer of titles in Europe as well as an obvious destination for Warner TV series, with distributors happy to sell premium drama series in lucrative multi-market deals to the service. As traditional multi-market buyers like Netflix engage less in this type of activity, those distributors left selling to third parties will be looking for new services, such as a Canal+, to come into the fray and offer quick multi-market wins that come with an appetising price tag.

Show Tracker is an essential tool for the TV industry, which monitors where TV shows are being sold around the world and the rights attached to each deal. Tracking over 1,400 TV shows and 350 different services in 19 markets, it provides a unified view of the distribution market. Show Tracker gives you data you can trust to drive your strategy forward and give you the edge in negotiations.

3Vision Show Tracker

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