StudioCanal shows new ambitions

StudioCanal, a catalog, distributor and producer of Canal +’s film and series subsidiaries, is now in a position to generate revenues in excess of the € 500 million that has been the focus of attention over the years. In 2016, the company already wanted to triple its sales and announced that it was aiming for 2 billion. But this time around, with the surge in demand for content, the group wants a real takeoff within reach.

“Today we are investing to accelerate,” explains Anna Marsh, Echos, general manager from 2019, who just joined Canal +’s board of directors. Profitability is essential, so you don’t compete for sales like you used to. »»

Third Paddington

In fact, the entity achieved “historical” results and 474 million sales (+ 31%) in 2021 with “BAC Nord” and “Black Box” as well as the “Last Letter from a Lover” abroad. I created it, but the idea remains the same. “For now, we invest just under € 300 million a year in content,” Anna Marsh said. It’s important to note that the group learned from having to save between 2017 and the pandemic. There is no sales target.

StudioCanal is one of Canal +’s owners, Vivendi’s vector of ambitions to create European content that travels around the world. Like “Paddington,” it’s his most beautiful franchise, and its third shoot should begin this year. “We are trying to create both international franchises such as” Paddington “and” Gun Powder Milk Shake “and local franchises such as” Up to 30 Days “and” 10 Days Without Mom 2 “.” Anna Marsh explains in detail.

Essential Catalog

StudioCanal does not elaborate on that account. Founded in another incarnation in 1986, the company was acquired from Carolco in the 1990s to acquire a co-produced stake in a major film funded by Canal +, the heart of the French film ecosystem. Gained momentum in business. From the catalog, especially UGCDA.

Today, broadcast rights catalogs represent most of the much more profit than the weight of income. “It was our base and made it possible to stand up to the pandemic brilliantly,” tells Anna Marsh. There are about 6,500 titles centered on movies, but the series is increasing. The group is looking at every opportunity for external growth to renew and grow it, including the integration of Mars movie rights in 2021. And of course, the catalog is nourished by about 50 film projects and series produced by the group in France and 12 other countries …

Single model

Throughout the 2000s, influenced by the aging of catalogs and the decline of video, StudioCanal actually moved to a unique hybrid model (and even studied in academic works) that sits among American studios. , And domestic producers, mainly domestic.

Thus, in addition to its activities in France, the group has decided to produce and distribute films in English, especially through equity investments, but not necessarily for the American people. UK, Australia, New Zealand, all complemented by international sales force.

The idea was to pool the risk in France by securing sales in other parts of the world. In 2011, StudioCanal entered into an exclusive partnership with Anton Capital Entertainment Fund, raising $ 150 million like Hollywood Studios. His first acclaimed international films were, among other things, “The Mole” (2011), “Paddington” (2014) and “Shaun the Sheep” (2015).

Since 2012, StudioCanal has also accelerated its television series, investing in tandem in Germany, Red for the entire channel, and the creators of Denmark’s “Borgen” and “The Killing”. In 2016, he invested in Bamboo, Spain, and Sunny March, an urban legend in the United Kingdom. The group is always on the lookout for operations, especially if there is a parent company, such as Benelux or Italy (via Vivendi).

Distributor above producer

Anna Marsh’s brief explanation today is to “increase the company’s capacity and create tomorrow’s franchise.” Between 2018 and 2021, StudioCanal increased its production by 36%, increasing from 30 movies and series to more than 40. Last year, the group released 14 French films in theaters. One of them is a mandated work, that is, he is in full control of the project (according to an expert agreement, four are allowed to be produced, which is no longer a limitation). ..

On average, the group releases three to five films a year in English, an executive production. The goal is to accelerate a total of 20-25 movies a year. On TV, StudioCanal co-produces a 200-hour series each year (including “Now and Then” for Apple, “StayClose” for Netflix, and “La Guerredes mondes” for Canal +) and wants to develop. is.

The role of the channel

StudioCanal is subject to the regulatory obligations of Canal + in France, but also benefits from the group’s leading role in the ecosystem. “The studio can, of course, be a distributor or co-producer of the movie that the channel pre-finances,” said the expert. He has the ability to negotiate. The activities of the series seem to be more independent, and StudioCanal still rarely participates in in-house content called “original creation”.

But that doesn’t prevent StudioCanal from facing challenges. StudioCanal is perceived as a powerful and independent distributor, especially because it aims to enhance the production of movies and series. -Producer of his project. “Between models of Mediawan or Federation-type producers who can sell their work to everyone around the world, especially platforms, and models of American studios like Netflix and HBO, which have a huge base of high-paying paying subscribers. What is your model? Can you keep your investment in content and make a profit? Ask an expert.

Anna Marsh is, of course, more optimistic. “We are fortunate to be part of a group that supports us a lot with 24 million subscribers and 30 million subscribers,” she explains. You can also serve both the parent company and all platforms to ride the wave of strong demand for content. »»