• Canal+ to make pay TV service available for free in France
  • France to go into lockdown to stem spread of coronavirus
  • Canal+ CEO: Subscribers will be able to access full range of channels

canal french tv credit pixinoo shutterstock

Canal+: Offering premium channels for free

Source: Pixinoo / Shutterstock

French pay TV provider Canal+ has said it will make its service free during France’s country-wide coronavirus lockdown.

French president Emmanuel Macron has announced sweeping measures to try and stem the outbreak of the coronavirus, including the shut down of schools, shops, theatres and restaurants across the country. He has imposed a 15-day lockdown and will mobilises 100,000 police to enforce restrictions in movement.

In response, Vivendi-owned Canal+ Group has said its premium channels will be made available for free through a set-top box, while subscribers will be given access to all of the company’s channels.

Maxime Saada, the chairman and chief executive of Canal+ Group, announced the company’s move to go free on his Twitter account on Monday.

He tweeted: ““Canal+ goes free for everyone on all set-top boxes. And for our subscribers, we are opening up the access to all our channels, Cinema, Series, Youth and Documentaries. Take care of yourselves.”

In France, Canal+ has around 8.4 million subscribers, with 20.3 million worldwide.

The announcement comes just months after Canal+ struck a deal to become the exclusive distributor in France for Disney’s new OTT platform, Disney+, which is due to launch in Europe next week.

Canal+ was already the studio’s exclusive French licensing partner for several years, handling titles from Walt Disney Pictures, Pixar, Marvel Studios and Lucasfilm.

The lifting of the premium bar only seems to apply to France, although Canal+ also owns services in other countries, including the Netherlands, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Austria, Hungary and Romania – all added following its acquisition of pay-TV operator M7 in September.

Canal+ isn’t the only content service offering free premium subscriptions during the coronavirus crisis. Last week, adult entertainment service Pornhub announced it would provide free premium subscriptions to Italian users during the country’s nationwide quarantine.

The adult content company announced Italian users can claim premium subscriptions without entering any of their credit card details throughout March. It will also donate a percentage of all proceeds to subsidiary Modelhub which helps creators sell content.

“Pornhub has decided to donate its Modelhub March revenue to help Italy overcome the emergency,” a message (translated from Italian) reads when you open the site in Italy. “To keep you company at home during these weeks, you’ll be able to access Pornhub Premium for free for the whole month, with no need for a credit card.”