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(July 18, 2001) PARIS -- Pan-European pay-TV leader Canal Plus has reappointed Havas Advertising-owned BETC Euro RSCG, Paris, to handle its estimated $70 million French advertising budget.

BETC RSCG won the renewed vote of confidence after surviving an agency review that pitted it against four of its fellow Paris-based Havas Advertising shops: Euro RSCG Works, DevarrieuxVillaret, Enjoy and On/Off.

The recent review concerned advertising for both the Canal Plus pay-TV station as well as the CanalSatellite delivery system.

Canal Plus, which counts nearly 5 million subscribers in France and 15 million across Europe, put its account into play as part of ongoing restructuring ordered by parent company Vivendi-Universal, which has apparently grown tired of waiting for Europe's top pay-TV channel to turn a profit and ordered executives to stop the money drain.

Vivendi-Universal swallowed up Canal Plus in 2000 when it merged with Canada's Seagram to create what CEO Jean-Marie Messier promised would be a global entertainment and media giant.

Vivendi-Universal no longer publishes Canal Plus-specific accounts, but the network lost upward of $300 million in 1999 and has seen disastrous results from a European expansion plan into Italy, Spain, Poland, Portugal and other foreign markets undertaken during the 1990s.

Canal Plus announced plans to cut 217 jobs in June, principally by reducing its programming load, and has since been inundated with more than 400 requests from disgruntled employees seeking to participate in the voluntary staff reduction program. -- Lawrence J. Speer

Copyright July 2001, Crain Communications Inc.

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