Canal+ inks Miramax deal

CANNES — French pay TV giant Canal Plus has signed an exclusive output deal for pay-per-view and pay TV rights with Miramax Intl.

The agreement is the latest in a series of pacts that have seen Canal Plus trying to tie up rights for U.S. product for itself and its Canal Satellite digital arm, at the same time as the rival Television Par Satellite (TPS) digital platform is chasing similar product.

The agreement, announced by Miramax co-chairmen Bob & Harvey Weinstein and Canal Plus chairman Pierre Lescure, includes pics from Miramax Films and genre subsid Dimension.

It also is Miramax’s largest international pay TV output deal to date and the company’s first in France.

Three years, 60 titles

Speaking to Daily Variety, Harvey Weinstein said the initial deal was for three years and is renewable. “I estimate it will provide Canal Plus with between 50 and 60 titles,” he said.

Daily Variety understands that TPS made a solid play for the Miramax product but that Weinstein’s lengthy relationship with Lescure swung the balance. Weinstein wouldn’t be drawn on the TPS issue, merely commenting, “I think that Pierre Lescure is a real visionary and that’s very important.”

Although details of exactly which Miramax films will be involved in the deal were unavailable, Canal Plus indicated that “we are basically talking about films that get released in France.”

The French company is facing its first real pay TV challenge from TPS’ three digital film services and the Multivision PPV service.

The Miramax agreement secures PPV for Canal Plus, firstrun pay TV rights for the network and second-run pay rights as well.

Commenting on the deal, Weinstein noted, “It is thrilling to bring the movies we believe in so passionately to a nation that shares the same passion and with a company that has so creatively brought the best of the world’s cinema to an increasingly large audience.”

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