Under pressure from parent Vivndi Universal, French pay-TV firm Canal Plus is shedding over 200 jobs, some 6% of its total workforce.

Vivendi chairman Jean-Marie Messier has imposed rigorous financial targets on the unit, in order to keep the parent group on-course for ambitious full-year objectives of 10% revenue growth and a 35% rise in EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization).

Canal Plus announced that many employees losing their jobs would be found alternative posts elsewhere in the group.

The job cuts are part of an overhaul of Canal Plus’s programming, which includes the scrapping of its fourteen-year-old daily show Nulle Parts Ailleurs, the reduction of its online operations and the merger of the French station’s newsroom with that of i-Television, a news-dedicated channel launched by the broadcaster two years ago.

Vivendi is also keen to find merger partners for Canal Plus’s cash-haemorrhaging international units – one such alliance recently saw its Italian division Telepiu merge with Stream, a pay-TV firm co-owned by Rupert Murdoch and Telecom Italia [WAMN: 24-Apr-01]. Messier hopes to forge a similar deal in Poland with Dutch-headquartered cable giant UPC.

News sources: Financial Times; Wall Street Journal