According to French daily Les Echos it will be called Canale + and will be an Italian version of the French Canal + offering a mix of fiction, sports and entertainment. It would compete head on with the pay channels from Mediaset Premium.
The news follows the troubled relationship between Vivendi and Mediaset. In April 2016, Vivendi had agreed with Mediaset to give it 3.5% of its shares, while itself taking 3.5% of Mediaset, and 100% of Mediaset Premium, the pay-TV business of Silvio Berlusconi’s Mediaset broadcasting empire. However, relations turned sour when the two parties could not agree on the conditions of the Mediaset Premium takeover by Vivendi.
In april, Italy’s communications regulator AGCOM ruled that French media group Vivendi violated Italy’s media antitrust law by building up controlling stakes in broadcaster Mediaset and telecom operator Telecom Italia (TIM), and given Vivendi a 12 month deadline to reduce its stake in either one. Vivendi holds 24% of Telecom Italia and 28.8% of Mediaset.
In May, the European Commission ruled that Vivendi could take control of Telecom Italia, paving the way for the new Canale Italia venture.