Friday, December 4, 2015

Canal Plus What can be done?

In my previous blog, I showed how precarious was the situation of the pay channel Canal Plus, facing a tough competition on its main programs, sports and fiction.

In this post, I shall attempt to provide an unsollicited advice to Vincent Bolloré, the powerful chairman of Vivendi and its subsidiary, Canal Plus.

It appears that Canal has already lost the battle in the field of sports rights. Bein TV, the sports broadcaster financed by Qatar with its illimited funds, is buying the main competitions in soccer, basket and others and Altice and Next TV have just bought into the British first league. Apart from buying Bein TV, an idea suggested by the daily Figaro that doesn't seem very likely, Canal risks to be marginalized.

However, there is still hope in the field of fiction. Contrary to  sports, Canal has more leeway to produce the best series and invest in top movies. Its teams have a lot of experience and have been very successful in the past. Of course, picking up the best directors and screen play authors is expensive but there Canal is in full command which is not the case with sports rights.

So, I think that Canal should change drastically a model which has been very profitable for 30 years but is not working anymore. The broadcaster should drop sports altogether and offer a full program of high quality fiction series, movies and documentaries. It would also sharply reduce its subscription rates from 40 to 20€ per month.

To put it in a nutshell, Canal Plus should follow the pattern of HBO in the US and, hopefully, win the competition with Netflix which is cheaper but has not an outstanding program.

Such a revolution would mean that Canal would lose millions of subscribers looking for sports only but it could reach a new public with a cheaper and more entertaining offer of fiction.

What is sure is that Canal cannot stay the way it is.