Appearing before the French Senate’s commission of Culture and Communication, Maxime Saada, chair of the Canal+ board, has announced that SVoD service Canalplay will cease operating in the coming weeks.
“It’s over for Canalplay. In the last two years, we have been taken off the map in this market which is surplanting television. We had a French Netflix, it was killed,” said Saada.
The platform has seen subscriber numbers plummet from 800,000 to just 200,000 today.
“We were deprived the possibility of exclusives for Canalplay when Netflix stepped into the market,” Saada added.
Giving the example of the upcoming launch of a Studiocanal channel in the US without local hits Versailles or The Bureau, Saada urged the French State to re-examine the production decrees in order to allow French TV groups to own the rights to the drama series they’re investing in.
“We [are bound by] a ball and chain when competing with hegemonic US players such as Netflix, which is recruiting 100,000 subscribers each month in France, and investing billion of dollars into content.”
Saada pleaded for French production players to be helped and protected by new, fairer rules. He suggested that tackling piracy could represent 500,000 new subscribers and an additional €40 million to invest into the country’s movie industry and sports rights.
On the fact that Canal+ lost the rights to the French Football Ligue 1 (to Spanish group Mediapro), Saada also put forward the question of rights sovereignty.