Exclusive: Canal+ rebuilds doc offer after deal with A+E Planète+ ends

Jean-Marc Juramie at Sunny Side

France’s Canal+ Group is rebuilding its documentary offer following the launch of premium channel Canal+ Docs in September, the company has said here at Sunny Side of the Doc.

Planète+ was previously the pay-TV group’s diversified documentary channel and, in its new guise as Canal+ Doc, is now refocusing as a history channel, targeting civilisation and archeology shows, contemporary history and war stories, among others.

The other Planete+ documentary channels have been rebranded, with Planete+ A&E , which has targeted a younger audience, becoming Planète+ Aventure, and Planète+ CI, becoming Planète+ Crime.


The change of name is the result of the termination of a long-time deal that Canal+ had with A+E, Canal+’s senior EVP of pay-TV content Jean-Marc Juramie confirmed to TBI. Forged back in 2014, the A+E deal included both a first-look programme supply and an A+E branding agreement, but this has not been renewed.

Tapping into demand

In creating Canal+ Docs, the group has been looking to address a growing demand for docs, including from younger audiences and via new platforms.

“Canal+ docs is already a success among our subscribers,” said Juramie, who added that it is “even more popular via its on-demand platform, with some docs seen by millions”. The MyCanal platform offers the group’s various Canal+ Docs and Planète+ shows, and also aggregates programming from others, including Disney+.

Canal+ Docs strands include, among others, true-crime, ‘in our times’ and an action-skewing focus. It also revived former Canal+ strand Les Nouveaux Explorateurs, featuring YA character-driven series. The channel is also relaunching sports documentaries and runs both feature docs and miniseries.

Christine Cauquelin at Sunny Side

The group says it has sizeable ambitions for French creation while also dedicating increased efforts to development and have stories told with a drama-like narrative feel, said Christine Cauquelin, group director of documentaries.

In the same vein of Staircase – originally a Canal+ commission – is Moochie, whose case and trial in the US has been followed for the past four years.

Although the channel does not want to do many biopics, there is one following couturier Karl Lagerfield and his hidden personality.

Other shows on the slate include Air Cocaine – following the case of four Frenchmen who were charged with transporting 700 kilos of the drug from the Dominican Republic in a private jet – and the true story of The Serpent, based on a 17-year investigation into the case.

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