French premium broadcaster Canal+ will launch a free-to-air channel on the French digital terrestrial network. Bertrand Meheut, CEO of the Canal+ Group, told Le Figaro that the recently awarded ‘bonus channel’ will be FTA.
Code named Canal 20, the new chnnel will hit the French airwaves this November immediately following analogue switch-off.
“Channel 20 will be a general entertainment channel, ambitious, with a high quality editorial level targeted a broad, but demanding audience. It will be in line with Canal +, focusing on films, original productions and will also present cultural magazines and possibly a very limited number of sporting events,” according to Meheut.
The channel will provide additional funding for local productions. “Our pay channels already spend €200 million per year on movies.”
“It is essential to strengthen the DTT offer with quality channels. We must claim our territory or else it will be conquered by new players such as Google TV, Apple TV, Hulu or Netflix, who are growing thanks to the connected TV. This development is inevitable, so we must act quickly and develop French production. Today, the broadcasters that focus their editorial offerings on US series will be particularly affected by the new internet players who will soon offer [the same programming] directly to viewers. ”