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NetworkCanal+ Group
HeadquartersIssy-les-Moulineaux, Paris, France
Picture format1080i HDTV
(downscaled to 16:9 576i for the SDTV feed)
Launched4 November 1984 (1984-11-04)
Digital terrestrial televisionChannel 4 (HD)
Canal+Channels 4 & 9 (SD/HD)
Channel 503 (HD)
Channels 703 & 710 (SD)
Canal+Channel 4 & 9 (SD/HD)
Channel 503 (HD)

Canal+ (Canal Plus, French pronunciation: ​[kanal plus], meaning 'Channel Plus'; sometimes abbreviated C+ or Canal) is a French premium television channel launched in 1984. It is 100% owned by the Groupe Canal+, which in turn is owned by Vivendi. The channel broadcasts several kinds of programming, mostly encrypted. Unencrypted programming can be viewed free of charge on Canal+ and on satellite on Canal+ Clair (Clear). The channel does not broadcast advertising, except when broadcasting on free-to-air slots. Almost all foreign films and series are broadcast in their original language with French subtitles on a secondary audio channel and dubbed in French or in French. All the programs of the group's channels are subtitled in French for the deaf and hard of hearing and the visually impaired also have access audio description for some programs.

Canal+ is a supporter of the Hybrid Broadcast Broadband TV (HbbTV) initiative, which promotes and establishes an open European standard for hybrid set-top boxes for the reception of broadcast TV and broadband multimedia applications with a single user interface. Since November 2017, Canal+ began to expand their catalogue internationally through the international feed, Canal+ International.


The original Canal+ logo, used from its launch in 1984 up to 1995

After the announcement about the launch of the fourth French television channel, Canal+ started broadcasting on 4 November 1984. In 1986, the channel had one million subscribers. It has produced numerous films of auteurs, including David Lynch's The Straight Story, Mulholland Dr., and Inland Empire.

Originally, subscribers would be mailed a code to punch in on their decoder's control panel to view the encrypted service (using the RITC Discret 1 system); the code would be based upon the decoder's serial number (stored in the box's ROM). To avoid problems with customer's codes being not delivered on time by the postal system, Canal+ would switch to encryption based on a generic key, between the last day of the month (beginning at midnight) and the first Monday of the next month (until 9 AM). During this time, all decoders—even those with lapsed subscriptions—would be able to view the channel.[1] However, signal piracy was rampant, after the magazine Radio Plans printed decoder plans in their December 1984 issue. As a result of this, Canal+ switched to the much stronger Nagravision encryption system beginning in 1992; the Discret system was fully phased out by 1995. The new decoders now utilized smart cards, cut into the shape of a key and inserted into the front of the decoder. Different decoders using the D2-MAC standard were also deployed during this time, mostly for cable subscribers. With the launch of CanalSatellite, the Mediaguard encryption system was instituted, created by SECA (Société Européenne de Contrôle d'Accès), a firm owned by Canal+ and Bertelsmann; Canal+ eventually bought out Bertelsmann's stake and rebranded SECA as Canal+ Technologies. This firm was sold by 2003 to Thomson SA. The MediaGuard system's use in Britain (by the now defunct OnDigital/ITV Digital) led to hackers in the employ of Rupert Murdoch's rival encryption company NDS breaking into the MediaGuard system, resulting in new cards being issued to Canal+ subscribers in 2002 and Canal+ starting legal action against Murdoch. The Nagravision system continued in use until 30 November 2011, when all analog television broadcasting in France ceased.[2][3][4]

From 2000 to 2002, Virginie Calmels successively held two positions, that of financial director and then CEO.[5][6]

With the launch of the digital satellite provider CanalSatellite on 27 April 1996, Canal+ received two new sister channels: Canal+ Jaune and Canal+ Bleu.[7] A fourth channel, called Canal+ Vert came along on 31 August 1998. The channels changed their names to Canal+ Confort (now known as Canal+ Décalé since 2005), Canal+ Cinéma and Canal+ Sport on 1 November 2003.

In September 2005, Canal+, Canal+ Cinéma and Canal+ Sport started broadcasting in the French digital terrestrial television network. The free-to-air parts of Canal+ had already been broadcasting for a few months by then. In August 2008, Canal+ started broadcasting the encrypted parts of its main channel in high-definition in the terrestrial network. Canal+ announced plans to turn off the analogue terrestrial signals by 2010.[8]

An account of the rise of Canal+ and CanalSatellite, and the establishment of the Canal+ Group as a major satellite broadcaster in Europe is given in the book, High Above, which tells the story of the foundation and development of the leading European satellite operator, Astra.

In February 2013, for €29 million per year, Canal+ bought the TV rights for the FIA Formula One World Championship. The same year, the group bought the rights to the English Premier League, the most watched football league in the world.[9]

In July 2014, the launch of a new pan-African TV channel - A+ - was announced. Based in Abidjan (Ivory Coast), it aims to become the leading television company in French-speaking Africa.[10]

In September 2015, Vincent Bolloré -Chairman of Vivendi- was appointed as chairman of Canal Plus. He changed several former executives and aligned Canal +'s operations with Vivendi's.[11]

On 15 November 2017, Quebec cable system Videotron began carrying Canal+ International, marking it the first provider to carry the channel.[12] It is also the second attempt at making Canal+ available in Canada since the former paid Canal+ Canada channel on Dailymotion, launched in 2013.[13]

As of August 2018, Canal+ International is on U.S. satellite provider DirecTV in HD on channel 2010.


Sister channels[edit]

Les Chaînes Canal+[14] is the brand name used for all the Canal+-branded channels in France. Prior to 2008 it was called Canal+ Le Bouquet.

channel launched Notes Availability Format Broadcast hours
DTT Satellite IPTV Cable
Canal+ 4 November 1984 Yes Yes Yes Yes 16:9 SDTV 24 hours
Canal+ HD 2006 previously known as Canal+ 16/9 then as Canal+ Hi-Tech Yes Yes Yes Yes 16:9 HDTV 24 hours
Canal+ Cinéma 27 April 1996 A dedicated movie channel, previously known as Canal+ Jaune Yes Yes Yes Yes 16:9 SDTV 24 hours
Canal+ Cinéma HD 2010 No Yes Yes Yes 1080i HDTV 24 hours
Canal+ Sport 31 August 1998 A sports channel, previously known as Canal+ Vert Yes Yes Yes Yes 16:9 SDTV 24 hours
Canal+ Sport HD 2010 No Yes Yes Yes 1080i HDTV 24 hours
Canal+ Family 2007 A channel broadcasting familial programmes, series and cartoons No Yes Yes Yes 16:9 SDTV 24 hours
Canal+ Family HD 2010 No Yes Yes Yes 1080i HDTV 24 hours
Canal+ Séries 2013 A channel broadcasting series No Yes Yes Yes 16:9 SDTV 24 hours
Canal+ Séries HD 2013 No Yes Yes Yes 1080i HDTV 24 hours
Canal+ Décalé 27 April 1996 Shows repeats of programs shown on Canal+, previously known as Canal+ Bleu No Yes Yes Yes 16:9 SDTV 24 hours
Canal+ Décalé HD 2010 No Yes Yes Yes 1080i HDTV 24 hours
C8 2013 A channel broadcasting entertainment programmes and films, previously known as D8. It is free-to-air. Yes Yes Yes Yes 1080i HDTV 24 hours
CStar 2016 A channel broadcasting music videos and reality shows and documentaries, previously known as D17. It is free-to-air. Yes Yes Yes Yes 1080i HDTV 24 hours
CNews 2016 A 24-hour News channel, previously known as i>Télé. It is free-to-air Yes Yes Yes Yes 1080i HDTV 24 hours

See also[edit]


  1. ^ D, Pierre; umont (10 April 2019). "Faire fonctionner un décodeur Canal+ des années 80". Le journal du lapin (in French). Retrieved 26 March 2020.
  2. ^ BUSINESS, BFM. "30 ans de décodeurs Canal+". BFM BUSINESS (in French). Retrieved 26 March 2020.
  3. ^ Cassy, John; Murphy, Paul (13 March 2002). "How smart card secrets were cracked". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 26 March 2020.
  4. ^ "Murdoch firm accused of hacking". BBC News. 27 March 2012. Retrieved 26 March 2020.
  5. ^ "Virginie Calmels: Executive Profile & Biography - Bloomberg". Retrieved 20 September 2017.
  6. ^ "Virginie Calmels joins the Assystem Board of Directors" (PDF). 2016. Archived from the original (PDF) on 20 September 2017.
  7. ^ "L'histoire du Groupe Canal+ de 1983 à nos jours". Archived from the original on 5 February 2012. Retrieved 3 April 2009.
  8. ^ "Canal plans analogue switch-off". 3 April 2009.
  9. ^ "Ligue 1 nets nearly $1 billion for TV rights". 5 April 2014. Retrieved 17 August 2018.
  10. ^ "Canal+ lance A+ pour le " public familial africain "". Le 9 July 2014. Retrieved 17 August 2018.
  11. ^ Keslassy, Elsa (10 September 2015). "Vincent Bollore Shakes Up Canal Plus Management". Variety. Retrieved 20 September 2017.
  12. ^ "Canal+ chez Vidéotron à la mi-novembre". 30 October 2017. Retrieved 17 August 2018.
  13. ^ "Canal+ au Canada sur internet via DailyMotion". 16 October 2013.
  14. ^ "Les Chaînes Canal+ : Programs for all tastes". Archived from the original on 7 February 2009. Retrieved 25 June 2009.

External links[edit]