French pay-TV group Canal Plus is set to launch French-language SVOD and VOD services in Canada in November via Paris-based video-sharing platform DailyMotion, the companies announced in a joint statement.
The new venture, called Canal+ Canada, will offer programmes currently available on Canal Plus stations in France including hit series such as Emmy-nominated The Returned (Les Revenants), the brothel-based Maison Close and police thriller Braquo, documentaries and high profile French and European films.
The service will operate at three different levels: a SVOD service for C$7.99 ($7.71 / €5.70) a month, a cinema-focused VOD service starting at C$2.99 ($2.89 / €2) per item and a free internet service featuring many of Canal Plus’ flagship programmes such as the satirical puppet show Les Guignols and the daily talk show Le Grand Jour.
Aimed predominantly at Canada’s French-speaking population, Canal Plus and DailyMotion are attempting to break into a SVOD market already dominated by Netflix, which has subscribers in 17% of the country’s 14m households, according to recent study by the Canadian Radio-Television Commission (CRTC).
The venture is an interesting move for both companies. Canal Plus, which has 11.4 million subscribers in France, launched a SVOD service at home at the end of 2011 but the take-up has been limited due to the country’s strict media laws, which impose a 36-month window between theatrical release and availability on an SVOD service.
The launch of the service, called CanalPlay Infinity, was seen largely as an attempt by the pay-TV outfit to establish itself as a key player in the French SVOD market ahead of the arrival of US operators such as Netflix, Apple or Google.
Some in the French TV and film industry say it is only a matter of time before France is forced to modify its strict legislation despite fears that such a move will lead to the break-up of the country’s film funding system, which obliges television stations to invest in cinema.
In Canada, there is no legislation governing release windows but Canal Plus stressed it would work closely with local distributors nonetheless.
“Of course we’ll respect the Canadian media chronology and we’ll buy most of our films from local distributors,” Canal Plus director of international projects Jean-Marc Juramie, who brokered the deal with DailyMotion’s general manager Martin Rogard, told ScreenDaily.
Paris-based DailyMotion is the second biggest video-sharing website in the world after YouTube with 120 million unique viewers accessing the site each month for a total of 2.5bn video views.
The platform was originally set up in 2005 as a peer-to-peer, video-sharing site but since late 2012 the company has become increasingly involved in distributing paid content.
Earlier this month the company signed a VOD deal with Warner Bros for France, including hundreds of classic films and new titles as well as popular TV series.
Earlier this year Yahoo was reportedly on the verge of buying a majority stake in DailyMotion from French telecoms giant Orange, the current majority owner, however the deal was scuppered after the French government vetoed the deal and said Yahoo wanted to “devour” the platform.