Collapse of the Canal Plus Canal Results

Mostly profitable yesterday, the encrypted channel fell seriously short, due to a leak from its subscribers, but also to the evaporation of the audience of its programs in clear, which saw their ad revenue divided by ten.

The Canal Plus channel is going from bad to worse, according to the financial results. The accounts of the Canal Plus Publishing Company (which, as the name suggests, is the company that publishes the encrypted channel) has literally collapsed in recent years.

Since 2012, turnover has fallen by 20% to 1.5 billion euros. This is primarily due to a 15% decline in subscription revenue, driven by the flight of half a million subscribers and the launch of discount offers in 2016.

At the same time, the audience for unencrypted sections was nearly divided by ten. Logically, the net advertising revenue from these tranches evaporated together and fell from 159 to 16 million euros in five years.

Dive into the red

Unencrypted slices cost almost 120 million euros five years ago, yielding a margin of around 30 million euros. Today their costs have undoubtedly fallen, but they certainly exceed the meager advertising revenue, making free-to-air broadcasts heavily loss-making.

All in all, the chain, which delivered generous profits yesterday, is now heavily in the red. For example, between 2014 and 2017, its operating income (excluding the balance of the Canal Plus Group) went from a profit of +157 million euros to a loss of -128 million.


These poor results contrast with the leaders’ optimistic discourse. “Canal Plus, which some thought was in trouble, is in top shape. The results are extremely satisfying,” assured its majority shareholder Vincent Bollore at Vivendi’s last general meeting. “For 4 years, Canal Plus has relaunched its activities in France. The recovery of the payment channels continues. Many said that it was not possible to restore Canal, we prove otherwise!” added the chairman of the board of directors of Viviendi to it. Arnaud de Puyfontaine. “Since mid-2015, the performance of the subscriber base has been quite spectacular”, assures the chairman of the board of directors of Canal Plus Maxime Saada. “All indicators are turning green,” concluded the station’s deputy general manager Frank Cadoret.

For the record, Vivendi, after publishing the results of the encrypted channel from February 2016, stopped doing this in February 2017.

When contacted, the broadcaster’s spokesperson replied that the Canal Plus channel is now being marketed within global offerings that also include other channels, and that therefore the isolated results of the Canal Plus publishing company no longer reflect the current business strategy. reflect. The spokesperson adds that the decline in ad revenue also stems from the reduction in unencrypted beaches, which have been reduced from 6 to 2 hours per day since 2015. Finally, the spokesperson specifies that the result of the Canal Plus publishing house does not take into account distribution costs (marketing, advertising, customer service, sales commissions, decoders), which are borne by other subsidiaries.

Update: In an internal letter sent on May 24 and quoted by satellite fax, the chairman of the board of directors Maxime Saada indicates that the pay-TV result in mainland France increased by 30 million euros in the 1st quarter of 2013 compared to the 1st quarter of 2012. He confirms that the beaches are clearly were never profitable. Finally, he adds that “Unfortunately, the Canal+ channel was not profitable in 2012 when distribution costs are taken into account (marketing, sales, customer relations, decoders, etc.)”.

Note that the 2012 financial statements of the publishing house Canal Plus (available below) show a net profit of 50 million euros. These accounts state on pages 65 and 92 that Canal Plus publishers did indeed contribute to the distribution costs by paying a distribution commission of 276 million euros. If the publishing house Canal Plus had not contributed to the distribution costs, its net profit would have been 326 million euros. These 2012 accounts were certified by the auditors, deposited at the Registry of the Commercial Court and the AMF, and were the subject of a press release dated February 27, 2013 (available below).

The results of Publishing Canal Plus

Turnover (in millions of euros)
2012: 1941 of which 1696 subscriptions and 159 advertisements
2013: 1941 of which 1697 subscriptions and 146 advertisements
2014: 1,868 of which 1,636 subscriptions and 143 advertisements
2015: 1802 including 1617 subscriptions and 118 advertisements
2016: 1704 of which 1540 subscriptions and 73 advertisements
2017: 1544 of which 1437 subscriptions and 16 advertisements

Operating income (in millions of euros, excluding balance*)
2012: +352
2013: +240
2014: +157
2015: +80
2016: -85
2017: -128

Net profit (in millions of euros, excluding balance*)
2012: +326
2013: +196
2014: +101
2015: +73
2016: -86
2017: -134
Source: Social Accounts of the Société d’Edition de Canal Plus

Audience for the non-encrypted segment 6.30 pm to 9 pm (audience share in %, > 4 years)
2011-12 season: 6.1
2012-2013 season: 5.4
Season 2013-2014: 5.5
2014-2015 season: 5
season 2015-2016: 3.2
Season 2016-2017: 0.6
Season 2017-2018 (until mid-April): 0.8

Audiences for the unencrypted segment 6:30 PM to 9:00 PM (average audience, > 4 years)
Season 2011-2012: 1,324,000
Season 2012-2013: 1,152,000
Season 2013-2014: 1,130,000
Season 2014-2015: 1,012,000
Season 2015-2016: 650,000
Season 2016-2017: 126,000
2017-2018 season (mid-April): 155,000
Source: Mediametry

*until 2015, the Société d’édition de Canal Plus paid its shareholder Groupe Canal Plus a balance known as a ‘distribution commission’ (276 million euros in 2012, 151 million in 2013, 53 million in 2014, 16 million in 2015). Vivendi has paid a balance to Canal Plus publishers since 2016 (105 million in 2016, 135 million in 2017). This payment has been removed from the results below to better reflect the economic activity of the Société d’édition de Canal Plus.

Leave a Comment