Netflix, France’s Canal Plus Sign Distribution Deal

Canal Plus
Courtesy of Canal Plus

France’s Canal Plus Group has sealed a deal to offer Netflix on its platform, joining other pay- and cable-TV providers across Europe in recognizing the demand for access to the U.S. streaming giant.

Beginning Oct. 15, subscribers to Canal Plus’ Cine/Series package will gain access to Netflix through Canal Plus’ set-top boxes. The exclusive bundle will be priced at 15 euros per month, in addition to 19 euros for the subscription to the flagship Canal Plus channel; and it will include the Netflix standard offer (with two screens and high-definition), as well as more than 20 movie and series channels already available in the Cine/Series package.

In France, most pay-TV subscribers use such boxes to access content, and Netflix already boasts distribution deals with all of France’s telco services – Orange, SFR, Bouygues and Free.

Canal Plus is France’s leading pay-TV group but has watched its subscriber numbers shrink over the past few years, in part because of streaming competitors such as Netflix, which boasts more than 6 million subscribers in France. Offering Netflix on its platform could help Canal Plus curb the decline in its customer base.

With Disney Plus and AppleTV Plus about to launch globally, Canal Plus Group has been looking to strike strategic alliances to increase the volume of premium content it distributes. The Vivendi-owned company previously signed distribution pacts with Free and Orange, as well as with Orange’s pay-TV service, OCS.

Canal Plus and Netflix have been known for weeks to be in negotiations.

“We are very pleased to partner with Netflix to offer our subscribers the richest cinema and series offer on the market,” Maxime Saada, CEO of Canal Plus Group, said. “Netflix is ​​the global standard-setter in its field, with internationally recognized programs. This complements our general offering of recent cinema, major live sports events, world-class series, including our Original Creations, and consolidates our role as aggregator of content and services.”

Added Netflix CEO Reed Hastings: “We are very excited to be working with Canal Plus, one of Europe’s leading media companies. We share the same passion for entertainment, and this partnership will make it easier for Canal Plus subscribers to access the Netflix experience – all in one subscription. “

Canal Plus 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 company has 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.