Canal Plus has reached a new agreement with French film industry organizations which sees the pay-TV group commit to invest more than 600M euros ($679M) in local and European film across the next three years. The deal, which was signed today with the BLIC, BLOC and ARP guilds — repping distributors, exhibitors, producers, directors and writers — also notably advances the window for Canal, allowing it to offer films six months after their release in theaters, contrary to the current eight-month waiting period. It further provides for an exclusive window of nine months minimum, and up to 16 months with the second window.
The adoption of the media chronology proposed still needs to be approved by the relevant public authorities.
Canal has long been the biggest financial contributor to French film production, although that has previously been based on a percentage of its annual revenues. Under the new pact, the 600M euros investment is a guaranteed amount and is independent of commercial performance which has been hit by the arrival of foreign players like Netflix.
Canal is seen as firming up its access to films at a time when competition for sports rights — historically a pillar of its offer — has been at more than a fever pitch. Maintaining a stronghold on French cinema is of particular import to Canal as more and more U.S. studio platforms expand into the market. Disney+ is already available here while Netflix and Amazon have been active for years.
According to updates in the European SMA Directive, France (as well as all EU member countries) can apply its own rules surrounding production contributions to foreign VOD platforms. Currently, the likes of Disney+, Netflix, Amazon and other comers have to wait an arcane 36 months after theatrical to release films on their services — something that has long been a bone of contention.