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Canal+: Fewer than 4m French subs in 2016

Appearing before members of the French Senate’s Culture Committee in Paris, Vivendi CEO Vincent Bolloré and Canal+ Managing Director Maxime Saada have forecast that the pay-TV operator will dip below the 4 million French subscriber level at the end of 2016.

Paradoxically, Bolloré assured Senators that new subscriptions have been significantly increasing during June, the first time in a long while. “I think that, really, Canal+ is recovering,” he said, though he also stressed again the situation was “a critical one” with €400 million losses expected in 2016, €460 million in 2017 and a loss of 500,000 subs since the end of 2012.

With reference to the outlawed Canal+-beIN Sports deal, Bolloré explained the group has no ‘Plan B’. “The belt-tightening period will be tougher that what we thought at first,” he added.

He confirmed the reduction in the number of the unencrypted slots next September, justifying this by pointing out those slots did not represent more than €60 million ad revenues compared with €1.5 billion from subscriptions, and because there was no proof that the free-to-air ‘shop window’ led to the conversion of paying subscribers.

Canal+ also confirms the loss of 50 jobs at DTT news channel ITélé, whose losses are expected to reach €20 million in 2106 and €25 million in 2017.

“My objective for Vivendi Group and for Canal+ more specifically is to put this group back on its feet so as it can become a French champion of our culture,” asserted Bolloré.

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