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Canal Plus to Cut Nearly 20% of Workforce in France

Faced with the continued decline of its domestic subscriber base, Canal Plus is preparing to downsize its workforce in France by 20% through the voluntary layoff of 500 jobs, according to reports.

Contacted by Variety, Canal Plus was unavailable to confirm or comment. The news was first reported by the websites Les Jours and Satellifax.

Canal Plus Group’s chairman and CEO Maxime Saada had hinted to the job cuts during a keynote address at MipTV, saying that Canal Plus would need to do some belt-tightening in order to be “fit to fight” amid the ultra competitive landscape and the upcoming launch of Apple, Disney +, among others. Saada said France has about 5 million subscribers, below Netflix’s count.

The company has been on a mission to lure younger demographics. It recently launched Canal Plus Series, an OTT channel dedicated to scripted shows and boasting a slightly cheaper subscription fee than Netflix’s in France. The company has also launched lower-priced packages to compete with streaming services.

Canal Plus Group, whose core strategy has been built on sports, movies and premium series, has also suffered from the loss of pricey sports rights to deep-pocketed players. Last year, Canal Plus lost broadcast rights to French Premier League soccer matches for 2020 and 2024 seasons to Chinese-owned Spanish broadcasting group Mediapro. It also lost rights to Uefa Champions League and Europa League football from 2018 to 2021 to Altice Group. The pay TV group, however, managed to acquire exclusive broadcasting rights to England’s Premier League soccer matches which will kick off next month.

One of the company’s main goals now is to expand its global subscriber base, which currently stands at more than 16.2 million, from international markets.

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