Maxime Saada, the chair and CEO of Canal+ Group, will receive the Variety Vanguard Award at the Mipcom international content sales conference set for Oct. 16-19 in Cannes.
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The award recognizes television industry leaders who have made a significant contribution to the global business of entertainment. Saada will receive the award, presented by Variety and Mipcom, on Oct. 16 as part of his keynote conversation at the Palais de Festivals, moderated by Variety co-editor in chief Cynthia Littleton.
Under Saada’s watch, Canal+ Group has significantly ramped up its international footprint from 11 million subscribers in 2015 to 25.5 million in 2022 across more than 50 countries in Europe, Africa and Asia. The company recently took a 12% stake in Scandinavian streamer Viaplay, as well as 26.1% in in Viu, a leading streaming service in Asia. Canal+ previously acquired the pay-TV broadcaster M7 for over €1 billion ($1.01 billion), launched in Ethiopia and Austria in 2021, and became the leading shareholder of the South African pay-TV firm MultiChoice. Canal+ Group, which is the parent company of leading film and TV production/distribution Studiocanal, has also continued being France’s biggest backer of local movies and committed to investing €600 million in French and European films from 2022 to 2024.
With €3.5 billion invested in content each year, the Vivendi-owned banner is a key player in sport, films and series, delivering 50 original series per year in more than 15 languages. Saada has also positioned Canal+ Group as an aggregator, forging alliances and distribution deals with Netflix in 2019, Disney+ in 2020, Paramount+ in 2022 and most recently AppleTV+ with a multi-territory landmark deal, as well as DAZN earlier this year.
“Maxime Saada is one of Europe’s most respected film executives. He has grown Canal+ Group’s international scope and has strengthened its role in the content business at a pivotal time for the industry,” said Michelle Sobrino-Stearns, CEO and group publisher of Variety. “In a highly competitive environment, Canal+ Group has thrived thanks to Maxime Saada’s strategy of investing in premium content and tapping opportunities overseas.”
The award ceremony will be hosted and co-organized by Mipcom. Lucy Smith, Mipcom director, said, “Maxime Saada’s contribution to the entertainment business globally has been nothing short of exceptional. It is our privilege to partner with Variety to provide the stage for his achievements to be recognised in front of the global TV industry, and to do so in France, his home, and where his work has had such a positive impact across several decades.”
Past recipients of the Variety Vanguard Award include Jennifer Salke, Amazon Studios chief, RuPaul Charles, creator, star and executive producer of the “RuPaul’s Drag Race” franchise; former HBO chief Richard Plepler; Endeavor CEO Ari Emanuel; and former 20th Century Fox Television Distribution chief Marion Edwards.