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Deal allows Canal Plus to ramp up its OTT biz in France, where Netflix is reportedly prepping a launch by year-end

Gaul’s pay TV giant Canal Plus has acquired a majority stake in Studio Bagel, YouTube’s leading network of French comedy channels which tally nearly six million subscribers and more than 40 million viewed videos each month.

Created in 2012, Studio Bagel produce such channels as Studio Bagel, Les Tutos and Le Dezapping, featuring some of YouTube’s most buzzed-about talents.

Lorenzo Benedetti, founder and CEO of Studio Bagel, will continue to run the banner within Canal Plus OTT, the newly-launched web and mobile division headed by former film acquisition boss Manuel Alduy.

The acquisition reflects the pay TV group’s ambition to ramp up its OTT biz in France, where Netflix is reportedly prepping a launch by year-end. Via Studio Bagel, Canal Plus will be able to target young audiences with new formats as well as source talents for web and broadcast operations.

“We are proud to accompany the development of Studio Bagel, one of the most creative start-ups in France. With Studio Bagel, Canal Plus Group is stepping up its already strong presence among millions of YouTube users,” said Rodolphe Belmer, Canal Plus Group CEO. Added Belmer: “This deal will also help us boost our well-known ability to detect and groom new talents.”

“Nobody expects YouTube channels to make big amounts of money in the near future. But for Canal Plus, the point of interest of the deal is to get better acquainted at a relatively low entry ticket price with global distribution and OTT and the options going forward for a content producer,” said Francois Godard, at Enders Analysis.

“Team Bagel” showcases Alison Wheeler, Gregory Guillotin, Gael Mectoob, Jerome Niel, Kemar, Kevin Razy, Ludovik, Mady, Mister V, Monsieur Poulpe and Natoo.

Last year, Canal Plus launched Canalfactory, a multi-channel network (MCN) based on its TV shows, on YouTube. Within a few weeks, it became one of the country’s top-rated multi-channel networks, averaging nearly 40 million videos streamed every month. Canal Plus also recently acquired a minority stake in Maker Studios, a U.S. producer and distributor of online video.

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