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Canal Plus posts further subscriber decline in France

Pay-television broadcaster Canal Plus posted another decline in subscriber numbers in France in 2019, although the rate of decrease slowed, according to parent company Vivendi’s year-end results.

Total subscriber numbers fell by 195,000 by the end of last year to around 8.4 million driven by a near 150,000 fall in self-distributed subscribers, Vivendi said on Thursday. The remainder of the fall was attributed to a drop in wholesale subscribers.

But the rate of decline in total subscribers in France eased from 2018 when 238,000 left the platform.

Canal will hope that subscriber numbers have turned the corner in light of a spate of recent investments. These include the acquisition of Uefa club competition rights for the 2021-24 cycle, extension of Formula One rights to 2022, and the signing of an exclusive distribution and Ligue 1 sub-licensing deal with pay-television broadcaster beIN Sports.

On a global basis, the Canal Plus Group’s subscriber numbers rose by 845,000 to just over 18 million. This excludes the additional 2.3 million subscribers it gained from the acquisition of European pay-television distributor M7 last May.

M7 operates in Belgium, the Netherlands, Austria, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Romania.

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