Canal Plus’ international revenues boosted by M7 acquisition

First-quarter revenues at pay-television broadcaster Canal Plus rose by 9.6 per cent to €1.37bn ($1.49bn) on the back of the acquisition of European pay-television distributor M7, but revenue from television operations dipped in France.

The addition of M7 helped grow Canal Plus’ international subscriber base to 20.1 million, compared to 16.7 million in the first quarter of 2019. M7 has pay-television operations in the likes of the Belgium, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Romania and the Netherlands.

M7 accounted for €102m of the €120m first-quarter revenue uplift at Canal Plus.

Revenues from television operations in mainland France fell by 0.7 per cent (at constant currency and perimeter). There were 7.8 million individual subscribers in France, an increase of 62,000 over the last year.

Owner Vivendi, the French media group, said that the current Covid-19 health crisis is affecting all of Canal Plus Group’s revenue sources. Vivendi added that the broadcaster is “taking action to ensure the continuity of most of its operations and to implement solidarity initiatives, while increasing its vigilance in reviewing expenditures and investments”.

In France, Canal Plus was last month forced to backtrack on its initiative to allow its premium channels to be broadcast free of charge to customers of French telecoms operators as a response to the coronavirus crisis.

The broadcaster has refused to pay its latest €110m rights fee instalment for French football’s Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 due to the shutdown of the leagues. It is also not expected to pay the remaining 15 per cent of its €97m due for the rights to French rugby union’s Top 14.

Canal Plus also operates in the French dependent territories, Poland, Vietnam and in sub-Saharan Africa.

Overall, Vivendi reported first-quarter revenues of €3.87bn, an 11.9-per-cent year-on-year rise.