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Vivendi slams Canal+ subs loss report

Vivendi has strongly condemned a report that its pay TV operation Canal+ lost subscribers in September, counter-claiming that it achieved positive subscriber growth for that month.

Canal+

Having yesterday said that it would prepare “a complaint for the spreading of misleading information negatively affecting its share price” following a report by Le Parisien on Sunday, Vivendi this morning confirmed that was lodging a complaint with the French financial regulator following what it said was a repeat of the claim that its subscriber base had fallen.

“Following the release of false information stating in particular a 10% drop in the number of Canal+ subscribers for September 2015, which negatively impacted its share price, Vivendi was yesterday obliged to issue a press release indicating that in fact the real figure was positive,” said the group.

“Despite this clarification, a new figure was circulated this morning showing a 10% drop in new Canal+ subscribers for September 2015, compared to September 2014. As a matter of fact, the number of new Canal+ subscribers over this period is actually up by 20%. In an attempt to put an end to this detrimental campaign, Vivendi has decided to file a complaint to the French Stock Exchange Authority (AMF) for the propagation of misleading information, which has negatively affected the Vivendi share price.”

Le Parisien, in a report dating from Sunday headlined “The Fall of the House of Canal+”, said that the number of new subscribers in September – rather than the total number of subscribers – was down 10% compared with September 2014, citing unnamed internal sources. September was a key month for the pay TV operator, thanks to its airing of rugby World Cup matches and the debut of season two of its flagship series Les Revenants.

Vivendi is claiming that the number of new subscribers in September in Metropolitan France was actually up about 20% year-on-year, with a figure of 43,900 new subs against 36,100 the previous year being reported by Le Monde. Vivendi did not provide a global subscriber figure, however, according to the paper.

The Le Parisien article also reported the loss in viewership of Canal+ free-to-air transmissions following the recent changes at the company, citing an internal source who said that Canal+ was no longer viewed as subversive and critical of those in power as a result of changes to its free-to-view content and that this carried a greater risk that viewers would not sign up for the subscription service.