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Canal+ Gets Leg Up With Deal

By | July 2, 2003

      Canal+ Technologies deal to provide middleware to U.S. satellite pay-TV operator DirecTV places further pressure on its U.S. competitors OpenTV and Liberate Technologies. The deal, which was announced in mid-June, is a key one for Canal+ Technologies. It enables DirecTV to provide Canal+’s MediaHighway middleware platform to new enhanced DirecTV digital set-top boxes (STBs).

      This is a lucrative contract. DirecTV has over 11.4 million subscribers in the United States, making it one of the giants in the satellite pay-TV industry.

      Jean-Marc Racine, executive vice president of marketing at Canal+ Technologies, told Interspace: “I would say that this is the largest single customer that was ever signed by Canal+ Technologies. It is the most significant contract that this company has signed. It is the largest single pay-TV operator in the world.”

      He continued: “Our revenue was flat last year, which may not seem that impressive, but if you look at the average of 30 to 40 per cent decline in our industry, it is a very good achievement. I think we will easily beat the industry average this year, both in terms of revenues and profitability.”

      Racine hinted that the DirecTV deal has put further pressure on its competitors in the middleware arena. “This deal clearly puts us very high on the map in terms of middleware providers and I haven’t seen any of my beloved middleware competitors having the opportunity to announce such a substantial deal for a long time.”

      Canal+ Technologies is now part of the Thomson Group [NYSE: TMS]. Racine commented: “Thomson’s strategy is to provide end-to-end services for media companies from the studio all the way down to the STB and the middleware. As these STBs are becoming more and more intelligent, that piece of software is becoming more critical. So, being on the converging point of what it is going into the subscribers home is extremely important.”

      –Mark Holmes

      (Contact: Marie-Vincente Pasdeloup, e-mail:

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