February 12 – French media giant CANAL+ Group and Qatari pay broadcaster beIN SPORTS have closed the distribution and sub-licensing deal announced last December.
The united front being created for the French market gives both companies stronger protection from the disruption to the traditional broadcast models of the streaming giants and sports ambitious social networks. The agreement runs for a renewable five-year period.
“Under the agreement, CANAL+ will offer all beIN SPORTS premium sports channels within its CANAL+ offers, while also being the exclusive distributor of beIN SPORTS to third-party providers across all platforms in France. In addition, beIN SPORTS has sublicensed exclusively its 2020-2024 Ligue 1 football rights to CANAL+, allowing CANAL+’s subscribers to enjoy two games on each match day, including 28 of the 38 top Ligue 1 games of each season, starting from next season 2020/202,” said a beIN press release.
The deal is focused on distribution. Both channels will retain their identities, brands and editorial autonomy, as well as working independently (and presumably competitively) in the sports rights acquisition market.
Yousef Al-Obaidly, President of beIN SPORTS FRANCE and CEO of beIN MEDIA GROUP, said: “The French sports TV market faces a fascinating few years ahead as the over-crowded market inevitably undergoes some radical change. Broadcasters with premium content who have paid proportion rights fees – supported by rational business plans – will thrive. This is precisely where beIN SPORTS is now positioned thanks to this partnership with CANAL+. This partnership is a major step in our ambitious long-term growth plans for France.”
The deal should also be good news for sports rights holders as the distribution pact should keep the rights market competitive in the traditional sales areas, while ensuring the entry point for the streaming channels is significantly high. To date the likes of Amazon and Facebook have been reluctant to pay premium prices to join the game, preferring to let the technology evolution and fragmenting audiences break the old models.
“We are delighted with the partnership with beIN SPORTS, whose amazing sport offer perfectly complements our own one. This partnership, which is great news both for our subscribers and all sports fans, will enable CANAL+ to continue to broadcast Ligue 1 beyond the current season with 28 of the top 38 games of each season exclusive until 2024. We are very honored by the trust that beIN SPORTS places in us to distribute its channels in France,” said Maxime Saada, Chairman of the CANAL+ Group Executive Board.
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