Drastic measures are needed, but Vivendi CEO Vincent Bolloré is confident about the future of the French pay-TV broadcaster: “Canal+ can be saved and will be saved”.
Talking to Les Echos, he said that savinf the channel is “subject to planned arrangements and savings we have to make. We went through a phase of awareness, then set up the team, and now the direction is now clear. As for our approach, we are in it for the long run.”
One of the measures will be the abolishment of the free-to-view windows, “there is no pay-TV provider in the world that offers open windows,” he said. Under the original licence, Canal+ had to broadcast a n umber of programmes unencrypted, programming which also served as a promotion for the pay channel. However, under current legislation, there is no need for such open windows.
Bolloré also noted that pay TV penetration is only 20% in France, compared with Sky’s 45% in the UK, so there is room for improvement (these figures really can’t be compared as market situations in the UK and France are very different – ed). He also hopes that a deal with Bein Sport will help grow the number of paying subscribers.
Concerning reports the broadcaster might sell off its free-to-air all news channel i-Télé, het denied there are such plans. On the contrary, Bolloré said he wants to reinforce the channel by joining forces with Canal+.