French TV business Canal+ announced this morning that it has finalised a deal to buy OCS, a TV business owned by French telco Orange, as well as Orange’s production unit Orange Studio. Financial terms of the deal have not been disclosed.
OCS, previously known as Orange Cinéma Séries, launched in 2008 as Orange’s big play in French pay TV. The service, which was initially exclusive to Orange TV but has since been made available through other major French TV providers, runs three film-focussed pay TV channels, as well as a streaming business.
OCS is a significant player in the French market. Its channels have previously held French rights to a number of high-profile US series, thanks in part to a deal with HBO, including Game of Thrones, Band of Brothers, and Veep. This HBO deal however expired at the start of this year, meaning a significant amount of content has left its channels.
Orange Studios meanwhile, launched one year before OCS, has also made a name for itself thanks to some high profile productions. It specialises in French cinema and TV, but has made several international breakouts including Oscar winning films The Father and The Artist.
But while these two units have both been successful to an extent, they’ve not been financially viable for Orange. Reuters reports that these divisions have made losses for years, and Orange had been actively seeking to offload the loss-making units prior to this deal. In a press-release announcing today’s deal, Orange said that since launching the two businesses, “competition in the audiovisual sector, particularly for OCS, has continued to intensify with the emergence of powerful international platforms.”
Combined with Canal Plus’s existing TV and production outfits, the two companies believe OCS and Orange Studio will be more competitive. The two say, for example, that Canal Plus’s production studio StudioCanal “has many assets to promote the Orange Studio catalogue”.