Canal+ (Canal Plus, French pronunciation: [kanal plys], meaning 'Channel Plus'; sometimes abbreviated C+) is a French premium television channel launched in 1984. It is 100% owned by the Canal+ Group, 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).
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 its catalog internationally through the international feed, Canal+ International.
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.
From 2000 to 2002, Virginie Calmels successively held two positions, that of financial director and then CEO.
With the launch of the digital satellite provider CanalSatellite on 27 April 1996, Canal+ received two new sister channels: Canal+ Jaune and Canal+ Bleu. 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.
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.
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.
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.
On November 15, 2017, Quebec cable system Videotron began carrying Canal+ International, marking it the first provider to carry the channel. It is also the second attempt at making Canal+ available in Canada since the former paid Canal+ Canada channel on Dailymotion, launched in 2013.
As of August 2018, Canal+ International is on U.S. satellite provider DirecTV in HD on channel 2010.