The Canal Plus international pay-TV heavyweight will return to the Netherlands in early 2024, with its service to initially be distributed through its M7 subsidiary.

M7 and its Canal Digitaal online service will be rebranded under the Canal Plus heading from January 29, marking the first time in 18 years the broadcaster has had a presence in that European market.

In terms of the sporting content it will offer, a carriage deal with rightsholder ESPN means Canal Plus will be able to show action domestically from the Eredivisie, Dutch soccer’s top tier. ESPN holds those rights in a deal running to the end of 2024-25, which is in the process of being renewed through 2029-30.

The new Canal Plus service will cost €4.99 ($5.41) per month, and customers of the Vodafone Ziggo service will have access to it via a carriage deal.

Jacques de Puy, Canal Plus International’s chief executive, said: “I am very pleased with the launch of our platform in the Netherlands, which will help us further strengthen the position of Canal Plus in the European market. It is a dynamic market that offers us new opportunities.”

“With our learnings from other territories and strong relationships with content providers and major stakeholders, we’re confident to bring something new to the Dutch audience, bringing together the best of linear channels, sport, films, and series.”

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Canal Plus has been absent from the Dutch market since 2005 when its operations there were taken over by the UPC cable operator (which has since been taken over by Ziggo).

This move gives Canal Plus a presence in another European market, adding to its activities in France, Poland, Austria (where it holds UEFA Champions League soccer rights), Slovakia, and the Czech Republic.

It also holds a 12% stake in financially embattled Scandinavian broadcaster Viaplay.

Outside Europe, it also holds stakes in SuperSport in sub-Saharan Africa, and in the Southeast Asian streaming service Via.

In total, the network claims a subscriber base of over 25 million across Europe, Asia, and Africa.