Canal Satellite out of rouge, adds channels

Digital platform plans to increase interactive services

PARIS — Three years after it launched its digital platform in France, Canal Satellite has hit operating breakeven.

Speaking in Paris, Canal Satellite president Bruno Delecour said the company now has 1.2 million subscribers, 100,000 more than at the start of the year. Delecour added that the digital platform is looking to hit 1.5 million subs during the year 2000.

On the financial front, Canal Satellite, which is majority owned by Canal Plus group, expects to have revenues this year of around 3.15 billion francs ($508 million), compared with $370 million in 1998.

The digital platform now plans to increase the interactive services it offers its subscribers as well as adding a clutch of new channels.

First up will be an interactive banking service. In October, Canal Satellite subscribers will also get access to stock exchange information. The company is also launching a message service allowing subscribers to communicate with each other.

Four new channels will come on stream during the fall. On Oct. 15, Turner Classic Movies (TCM) will be added to Canal Satellite’s existing four film channels. TCM will draw on the library of pics held by Ted Turner’s TBS and from the Warner catalogue.

Strengthening the documentary lineup, Planete 2 will be added to the already established Planete thematic service. The Pathe-controlled Pathe Sport and Canal Plus-owned news service “i television” complete the list of new channels.

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