Apple has signed a multi-year deal with Canal+, a leading French premium television channel and streaming service. Starting on April 20, all existing and future Canal+ subscribers in France and some other European countries will be able to stream Apple TV+ content for no additional cost.
This is an odd deal as Canal+ isn’t just bundling Apple TV+ in its offerings. It doesn’t work like carrier deals — telecom companies often offer a few months of Apple TV+, Disney+ or Netflix with their most expensive subscription plans.
Instead, Apple TV+ content will be available in the Canal+ app directly (myCanal). Some shows, like ‘The Morning Show’, ‘Foundation’ and ‘Teheran’ will even be broadcasted on Canal+’s premium TV channels for people who still watch live TV.
On Twitter, Canal+ says that its subscribers won’t be able to access Apple TV+ from the Apple TV app. This will still require a separate subscription — but I don’t see why people would pay to access content that they can already stream in a different app.
In an interview with Variety, Apple’s senior VP of services Eddy Cue said that this isn’t just a temporary deal to boost Apple TV+ in France. “It’s not a promotion and it’s not a one-time thing. It’s a many-years thing and hopefully something that lasts for forever in my mind,” Cue told Variety.
But the timing of the announcement is interesting. Apple TV+ has been available since 2019 and is estimated to have 25 million paid subscribers. But it’s unclear if Apple managed to attract a ton of subscribers outside of its home country. Unlike Netflix, there isn’t a lot of international content available on the service. Apple launched its first French TV show recently, ‘Liaison’, and a French-Japanese show is going to premiere on April 21.
By partnering with a local player like Canal+, Apple will be able to reach a much wider audience. In France alone, Canal+ has 9.5 million subscribers. Canal+ is also available in several European and African countries. It has more than 25 million paid subscribers in total.
Canal+ and Apple have known each other for a while. In 2020, Bloomberg reported that some video apps can sell shows on Apple platforms without paying the standard in-app purchase fees. Apple doesn’t take a 30% cut on payments for content rentals or purchases in Amazon Prime Video, Canal+ and Altice One if users already have a payment method associated with their account.