French premium TV channel Canal+ is facing increased competition from Netflix in France. The company is trying to reinvent itself with a new over-the-top offering called Canal+ Séries. The new service is launching today.
As the name suggests, Canal+ Séries is focused on TV series — you won’t find any movies on the streaming service. In addition to original content, Canal+ has already signed distribution deals with American networks to distribute their shows in France (Showtime, FX, etc.) — those shows will also be part of the streaming service. Overall, there are around 150 series at launch, from Hippocrate and Engrenages to Killing Eve and Twin Peaks.
When it comes to prices, the company wants to undercut Netflix with aggressive pricing. You can subscribe for €7 per month ($7.90) to stream in HD and 4K on one screen at a time. For €10 and €12 per month ($11.20 and $13.50), you can stream on two and four screens at once, respectively. In France, Netflix currently costs €8 for the basic package, €11 for HD and two screens, and €14 for 4K and four screens ($9.10, $12.50, $15.90).
Canal+ has been working on an OTT streaming service for years, called myCanal. It’s one of the best OTT services in France (with Molotov). Canal+ is taking advantage of myCanal to let you stream Canal+ Séries content in the myCanal app on your phone, tablet, computer, Apple TV or Android TV device.
This is an interesting offer for Canal+. The company still relies heavily on expensive subscription contracts with 12 months or 24 months of commitment — a throwback to the golden age of cable TV. The company can’t lose all those valuable subscribers and cannibalize its own offering.
By focusing on TV series, Canal+ can let users stream content right after they air. French law is restrictive when it comes to movie streaming, but not TV series. Most movies on Netflix in France are at least two or three years old, for instance.
Netflix recently announced that it has 5 million subscribers in France, a tiny bit more than Canal+. With Netflix’s recent price hikes and Canal+ cheap tier, let’s see if it can boost Canal+’s bottom line and shake things up in the French TV landscape.