As from today, November 24, the French pay-TV operator Canal+ will only be available in digital after having switched off the remaining analogue terrestrial transmitters in Ile-de-France.
“We are the first of the original terrestrial broadcasters to abandon analogue transmissions,” said Canal+ president Bertrand Méheut. At the moment, France is witching off analogue broadcasts region by region, a process which will end on November 30, 2011, when the whole country will be fully digital.
During a press conference in Paris Méheut said the broadcaster lost less than 8% of its subscribers still relying on analogue. Of the former analogue subscribers, 74% choose digital terrestrial reception, 15% satellite DTH, 7% IPTV and just 4% cable.
However, satellite is the main means of distribution for the Canal+/CanalSat channels, with 3.2 million homes (60%) out of the total of 5.3 million subscribers. Digital terrestrial accounts for 1 million subscribers (19%), IPTV 800,000 (15%) and cable 300,000 (7%).
At the moment, Canal+ broadcasts three of its premium channels on digital terrestrial – Canal+, Canal+ Sport, and Canal+Cinéma. The group has applied with the media regulator CSA for a fourth channel, Canal+ Family. The price for an analogue subscription used to be €35 a month.
For digital terrestrial the fee remains the same, but viewers now get access to the three terrestrial channels.
Canal+ has also launched a campaign targeted at IPTV subscribers offering free access till December 1 and introducing pre-paid smart cards for viewing the channels.