Paramount+, which has been rolling out to dozens of global territories over the past year, will reach the key European market of France as part of a wide-ranging partnership with Canal+.
The news was among a fusillade of announcements today during an investor day, conducted virtually after ViacomCBS (now Paramount) reported fourth-quarter earnings.
The strategic partnership between Paramount and Canal+ will encompass the launch later this year of Paramount+ as an offering to all Canal+ Ciné Séries subscribers in France.
Paramount CEO Bob Bakish, during a Q&A with analysts at the end of the company’s investor day, described the Canal+ deal as a “hard bundle” arrangement. That compares with channel stores or true direct-to-consumer availability. A hard bundle, Bakish said, allows for “a very quick subscriber base and very low subscriber acquisition costs, with minimal churn going forward. We like that a lot as we go to build scale.”
Canal+ will not be the only conduit in France for Paramount+, which accounts for the majority of the parent company’s 56 million streaming subscribers. It will also be available as a stand-alone app in Apple iOS and Android via connected TVs and OTT platforms.
Pricing and local programming plans will be announced at a later date, the companies said.
Along with the streaming launch, Canal+ will distribute Nickelodeon, Nickelodeon Junior, Nickelodeon Teen, MTV, Paramount Channel, Game One, J-One, BET, and Comedy Central. Paramount Pictures films will also be made available on Canal+ Group channels six months after their theatrical release, in keeping with newly revised French media regulations. Some Showtime series will also be available in 2022.
“Today marks an important milestone for our streaming growth story,” said Raffaele Annecchino, CEO of ViacomCBS Networks International. “We are strategically creating a streaming model for long-term growth, rapidly gaining a solid footprint across all the major European countries. Our SVOD premium services allow us to expand our streaming business in more than 60 markets, as we build our momentum toward expanding Paramount+ in all the markets across the world.”
Canal+ has done similar deals with U.S. media companies, including Disney in 2019 around the launch of Disney+.
Maxime Saada, Chairman and CEO of Canal+ Group, called the arrangement “a new demonstration of Canal+ Group’s ability to team up with the most influential global players in the content industry. It strengthens our businesses, both as an aggregator, via the distribution of Paramount+ and ViacomCBS’ channels, and as a publisher, by securing long-term exclusive access to Paramount Pictures movies and select Showtime series for our Canal+ channels.”
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