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Source: Canal Plus

Canal Plus has reconfirmed its position as France’s biggest film backer following a deal with the country’s producer guilds that will see it invest roughly €600m in feature film over three years from the beginning of 2022.

The French pay-TV giant’s historic support of the local film industry had looked in doubt in recent weeks as it negotiated a new accord setting its investment obligations in local and European films and shows.

The network has traditionally invested 12.5% of its annual turnover in pre-buying French and European feature films under obligations enshrined in French law.

This investment gave the pay-TV giant a privileged early exclusive broadcasting window for the films it had backed.  

The arrival of the US streamers has eaten into this advantage in recent years, leading the management to push back on its hefty cinema investments and recently even float the idea of pulling out of cinema all together to focus, rather on sport and high-end series.

However, the group has reached an agreement with the key producer and director guild alliances of the Blic, Bloc and l’ARP.

Under the new accord, which was signed today (December 2), the network has agreed to invest a flat fee of around €200m a year, regardless of its turnover.

In return, the network will be able to show the films it has backed, six months after their cinema release, against eight months now, with an exclusive nine-month window.

These negotiations have taken place against the backdrop of a wider overhaul of the country’s media chronology laws aimed at bringing the global platforms into the country’s virtuous film financing eco-system under which all diffusers of content reinvest some of their turnover back into local and European productions.

Platforms such as Netflix will be expected to invest around 20 to 25% of local turnover in French productions. In return, the current window between a film’s theatrical release and its online launch could be reduced from the current 36 months. A reduction is contingent on a deal with both the government and the guilds. 

The platforms have been pushing for a 12-month gap but are now expected to end up with a 15 or 17-month window following Canal Plus’s deal with the producer guilds.