French pay TV group Canal Plus will be free for the next few weeks or months during the country’s lockdown due to the coronavirus outbreak. For a number of days, France’s theaters, shops, restaurants and schools have been shut down, and the president, Emmanuel Macron, is expected to unveil even more drastic measures, such as ordering the nation’s total confinement, this evening.
Maxime Saada, the chairman and CEO of Canal Plus Group, announced the company’s move to go free on his Twitter account on Monday, and a patriotic Canal Plus logo coloured in blue, white and red to evoke the French flag.
More from Variety
“Canal Plus goes free for everyone on all set-top boxes. And for our subscribers, we are opening up the access to all our channels, Cinema, Series, Youth and Documentaries. Take care of yourselves,” Saada wrote on Twitter.
Canal+ passe en clair pour tous sur toutes les box. Et pour nos abonnés, nous ouvrons l’accès à toutes nos chaînes Cinéma, Séries, Jeunesse et Documentaires. Prenez soin de vous pic.twitter.com/wyDJ7qaevA
— Maxime Saada (@maxsaada) March 16, 2020
Although its investment in French and European films has decreased along with its annual revenue in the last several years, Canal Plus Group remains one of the main financial backers of local movies.
On top of investing in and acquiring original content, Canal Plus is also a leading aggregator thanks to distribution deals with Orange, SFR, Bougues, Netflix and most recently Disney+, among other services. Earlier this year, Canal Plus also finalized a five-year exclusive distribution and sub-licensing deal with global network beIN Sports to distribute all of beIN Sports’s premium channels and content within Canal Plus’s packages.
Canal Plus Group is owned by the Paris-headquartered media company Vivendi, which is also the parent company of Universal Music Group.
Best of Variety