Canal Plus plans to up services, revs & subs

Prez sez Seagram/Vivendi merger will bring added benefits to customers

PARIS — Canal Plus head Pierre Lescure said Thursday he wanted to double the pay TV giant’s subscriber base, and “above all, double the revenue per subscriber,” by making more services available to customers and increasing access to those services.

“We will become a major European player on a world scale when the Seagram/Vivendi/Canal Plus merger brings in films and music,” he said.

In an interview with the French weekly mag Paris Match, Lescure minimized the significance of the drop in Canal Plus stock.

“Canal Plus has lost less than AOL since it announced a merger with Time Warner,” he said. Lescure reiterated the optimism expressed by Canal Plus director Denis Olivennes that the European Commission in Brussels would give a speedy go-ahead to the merger.

“The commission will say yes to the deal at the end of September or the beginning of October,” Lescure said.

“The European Commission hasn’t asked us any trick questions. The European Commission only becomes interested in a merger when the companies would end up with more than 20% of the market. We are far from that figure, with more than 15% of the cinema and pay TV market in only two countries — France and Spain,” he added.