The outfit, already present in Africa, launches an offer of SVoD mobile and develops cheaper pay DTT offers.
Canal + strongly believes in Africa. In the coming days, the company will take a further step on that continent by launching an offer of SVoD – video subscription service – for mobile phones, with its local partner, Iroko, billed as the largest Internet television operator in Africa. The offer, under test in recent months, will offer a catalogue of series produced in Nollywood (Nigeria) or fictions from A +, Canal’s Pan African channel.
The price will be adjusted to the local purchasing power: less than 2 euros per month. “By 2020 there will be 160 million smartphones in Africa. We hope to reach a few million subscribers,” says Jacques du Puy, president of Canal + Overseas, a subsidiary of Canal + in charge of the international section. Huge potential in terms of subscribers CanalPlay or Netflix, not exceeding a priori one million in France. The investment amounts to “several million”. “While TNT is struggling to establish itself, some groups, including Anglo-Saxon, have already made the bet that the non-linear TV will be the next step,” says Alexandre Rideau, in Keewu Production.
An old story
Canal + and Africa, is an old story. The group is present for about twenty years, initially targeting expatriates and wealthy Africans. “There are some years, it was repositioned for the middle classes, to make Africa one of our major development basins” said Jacques du Puy. Canal + has 1,000 employees dedicated in this area. It has developed channels bouquets, including Canal, but with broadcasts produced only for Africa and African cinema. At the end of 2014, it launched A +.
The results: the continent has become one of its growth engines. While the group suffers a hemorrhage of subscribers in France, it can boast a nice progression there, where it merged the Canal and Canalsat brands. It has over 2 million subscribers to offer Canal (with or without the flagship channel), against 700,000 in late 2012. And it wants to go further. If the satellite first price offer around 7.50 euros per month is considered too expensive – especially since it needs to be equipped with a decoder – and impedes faster development, it has launched a pay DTT bouquet in Congo – Brazzaville and DRC from 5 euros. “And we expect deployment in twenty cities in the three-four years,” he says.
However, nothing is gained. “Our main competitor is informal.” Way modest to talk about piracy. In many countries in Africa, the “cable operators” are settled everywhere: a man or a group of men who take a subscription to bouquets and pulls cables to the surrounding homes, in exchange for a remuneration. In Cameroon, for example, the media expert, Analysys Mason estimates that at least three quarters of the paid subscribers are in illegal deals … sometimes unknowingly.