By Stuart Thomson
Vivendi-owned Canal+’s international expansion has begun to pay significant dividends, with the pay TV operator seeing its total subscriber base jump to 20.4 million, up from 17.1 million in the first half of 2019.
The group’s French subscriber base stood at 8.5 million at the end of June, including from distributor partner agreements. The group was boosted in France by its exclusive distribution deal with Disney+, which it said would be extended to distribution partners including France’s ISPs. At the start of June the group also became the exclusive French distributor of BeIN Sports channels to third party distributors for the next five years.
Canal+ also turned in a 6.2 per cent uplift in revenue for the first half of the year, albeit down slightly at constant currency. Revenues in France were down 2.1 per cent at constant currency due to the impact of COVID-19 on the advertising market, but revenues from international operations jumped by 30.5 per cent in local currency terms and by 5.2 per cent when the impact of currency variations was stripped out. The uplift was due to rapid growth in its international subscriber base, including the acquisition of M7 Group, but also from organic growth in emerging markets.
Production arm Studiocanal on the other hand saw revenues plummet by 30.5 per cent due to the impact of the virus on theatrical distribution.
A combination of subscriber growth and cost control meant that the pay TV outfit turned in EBITA of €329 million(US$387.56million), up 16.2 per cent in constant currency terms, for the first half.
Canal+’s strong performance meant that the pay TV group made a positive contribution to parent Vivendi’s overall result along with Universal Music Group, offset by COVID-19 related declines at Havas Group and Vivendi Village. Vivendi posted revenues of €5.576 billion for the six months, up 3 per cent but down 2 per cent in constant currency terms. EBITA was similarly up 2.4 per cent to €735 million, but down 3.8 per cent in constant currency terms.