Vivendi's pay-TV Canal Plus to cut 500 jobs in France: Les Jours

PARIS (Reuters) - Vivendi’s pay-TV Canal Plus plans to cut 500 jobs in France, or nearly 18 percent of its staff in the country, through voluntary departures, French news website Les Jours reported on Thursday.

The French media giant’s division has been losing subscribers in its home country as it faces the competition of streaming platform Netflix and Qatar-controlled beIN Sports.

The group, which built its reputation of broadcasting major soccer matches, also suffered a heavy blow last year when it ended up empty-handed in a crucial soccer rights auction in France, beaten by Spain’s Mediapro.

A works council is scheduled next Tuesday to discuss a plan to cut jobs through voluntary departures, a union source told Reuters. No figure was given by management, the source added.

A spokesman for Canal Plus declined to comment.

The division already has already gone through a 300 million-euro cost cutting plan and a reshuffle of its commercial offering in France, where it lost 228,000 individual subscribers in one year at end of March, excluding wholesale offers.

Canal Plus’ profitability increased in 2018, however, thanks to the cost cuts and growing sales overseas. Earnings before interest, tax and amortization (EBITA) were up by 80 million euros from a year earlier, totaling 428 million ($483 million).

Reporting by Mathieu Rosemain and Gwenaelle Barzic; editing by John Irish