France's Canal+ posts healthy subscriber growth

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PARIS--Subscriptions to top French pay TV network Canal+ grew by 17% during 1999 to 13.6 million clients, according to yearend statistics released by the company.

Canal+ counted 6.66 million clients in France and 6.97 million clients in other European markets, principally Italy, Spain and Portugal, as of Dec. 31, 1999. More than four million clients now receive Canal+ programming in digital format via satellite, the company says.

In the key French market, Canal+ recruited 524,000 new subscribers during1999, its best performance in 10 years. With about 9% of all subscribersending service during 1999, Canal+ saw its overall French client base grow by 135,000 clients, the company says.

Canal+ is also the principal shareholder in the CanalSatellite digital TVsystem, which grew from 1.25 million to 1.37 million subscribers in 1999.

French media giant Lagardere agreed in mid-January to pay Canal+ $900 million for a 34% share in CanalSatellite, principally to guarantee market access for its specialized themed programming, which includes music, docu-mentary, film and weather channels currently seen across Europe.

Copyright January 2000, Crain Communications Inc.

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