Disney and the new French pay-tv company Canal Plus have recently brokered a deal that will allow Canal Plus to provide Disney+ shows to French viewers. The deal will take effect when Canal Plus launches its own streaming platform in France this coming March.
This French arrangement will expand Disney+’s current international reach. Currently, the relatively new streaming platform is available in the U.S., Canada, New Zealand and Australia, and will add the UK and Western Europe on March 31. The deal with Canal Plus appears to be quite exclusive, as Disney+ head Kevin Mayer confirmed that this is the only major distribution deal Disney+ has signed with another company, aside from their U.S. deal with Verizon. Verizon customers are currently receiving one free year of Disney+, and after the launch of Disney+ on November 12th, Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg stated that the success of the deal “exceeded expectations.”
Disney and Canal Plus have had a working relationship in the past, with Canal Plus distributing Disney properties including Marvel, Lucasfilm, and Pixar films. Maxime Saada, chairman and CEO of Groupe Canal+, confirmed the deal on Twitter this morning:
— Maxime Saada (@maxsaada) December 15, 2019
The tweet above translates to “The Force is with us.”
Mayer has stated that Disney+’s goal is to gain between 60 million and 90 million subscribers by 2024, and the expansion into international markets is a strategic move to achieve that goal. In an interview with French newspaper Les Echos, Mayer explained that the international markets will either be reached by Disney+ directly, or will be accessed through distributors like Canal Plus. “In France, we will come to market with both models,” Mayer said. “There’s no doubt that we will hit more of the world by partnering with Canal Plus.” Canal Plus will begin providing Disney+ in France on March 31st, 2020.