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Netflix in Talks to Sign Distribution Deal With Canal Plus

Netflix is in final negotiations to sign a distribution deal with Canal Plus Group, France’s leading pay-TV group, Variety has confirmed.

Although Netflix has contributed to the continued decline of Canal Plus Group’s domestic subscriber base, a partnership with the streaming service could benefit Canal Plus, allowing it to distribute Netflix as part of its offer. The talks between Netflix and Canal Plus were first reported in the French newspaper Le Figaro.

With Disney Plus and AppleTV Plus about to launch globally, Canal Plus Group is aiming to forge strategic alliances to increase the volume of premium content it distributes and to ramp up its subscriber base.

Since launching in December 2014, Netflix has lured more than 5 million subscribers in France. One of the keys to its success has been scoring distribution deals with all of France’s telco services – Orange, SFR, Bouygues and Free – to gain access to set-top boxes. Amazon Prime Video recently signed a deal with SFR and is negotiating with other French telcos.

Canal Plus Group previously signed distribution pacts with a pair of major French telco operators, Free and Orange, its former rival, in October 2016. Through those two deals, Canal Plus was able to boost subscriptions significantly.

The French pay-TV group has been going through a rough patch, having lost important and pricey sports rights such as French Premier League soccer matches to deep-pocketed players. The pay-TV service recently announced a plan to downsize its workforce in France by 20% through the voluntary layoff of about 500 people.

Earlier this year, Canal Plus launched Canal Plus Series, an OTT channel dedicated to scripted shows, as well as lower-priced packages to compete with streaming services.

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