Pay TV company commits 10% of revenue

In the biggest holiday bonus the French industry has ever seen, paybox giant Canal Plus has announced it will plow 10% of annual revenues into pre-buying Gallic pics.

The sum is calculated against subscription and ad revs at the Canal Plus channel in France. The feevee previously earmarked 9% of revenues for pre-buys.

Under this 9% commitment, Canal Plus last year spent E173.96 million ($248.8 million), a historic record, pre-buying 142 Gallic films, according to CNC figures.

Canal Plus France’s increased commitment looks worth around a minimum $260 million a year. That reps by far the biggest local pic financial commitment of any TV operator in Europe.

Canal Plus will hold back some of the coin — equivalent to 0.5% of its revenues — to give as a bonus payment to the pics that go on to achieve the best B.O. results in France. Most of these are likely to have notched up more than 500,000 admissions.

French producers are very attached to this bonus mechanism. We were also looking for a way to strengthen French film financing,” said Manuel Alduy, Canal Plus’ head of cinema. “French films are becoming increasingly difficult to finance. With this mechanism, producers will be able to tap some financing for their next films.”

The paybox will dedicate 2.5% of annual revenues, up from 2%, to pre-buys on European films in general.

No duration has been announced for the deal, inked with industry trade orgs Bloc, Upf and L’Arp, but Canal Plus’ contract with French industry orgs usually runs for five years.

It comes as free-to-air broadcasters across Europe are attempting to scale back movie buys, arguing movies no longer punch such high ratings.

Canal Plus’ huge commitment to French films rolls off its subscribers’ large enthusiasm for their national cinema.

Cinema is very important to us and to our customers. Our customers like French cinema,” Canal Plus Group prexy-CEO Bertrand Meheut said this fall.

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