According to industry reports, Canal+ Group has received conditional approval from an anti-trust board to acquire Orange Studio and OCS, the film and pay-TV operations of Orange, France’s leading telco group.
Under the plans presented to the regulatory commission, OCS will be combined with Cine+, one of Canal+’s channels, but it will continue to operate independently. Canal+ has also pledged to maintain separate purse strings for OCS/Cine+ to continue acquiring movies for first-window rights and having a different acquisition team. In addition, Canal+ has committed to having OCS/Ciné+ pre-buy a minimum of 25 French film projects over the next five years, including at least four French film projects per year.
Aside from Canal+, French film producers have limited options for pre-finance movies in France. While streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Disney+ are bound to play a more significant role due to their investment obligations in local content, the anti-trust board said in its decision that “subscription-based streaming services don’t represent real and potentially sufficient alternatives to (Canal+ and OCS), notably in terms of diversity.”
Canal+ Group, whose parent company is Vivendi, already owns 33.3% of OCS and has been distributing the service on its platform since 2011. On the other hand, Orange Studio is the content division responsible for co-producing, selling abroad and distributing select films in France.
Canal+ has a 12% stake in Viaplay, the Scandinavian streaming platform. Its other streaming assets include South Africa’s Multichoice Group and Hong Kong-based OTT service Viu International.