Telefónica's Movistar+ lifts the lid on how it plans to dominate original Spanish fiction

A promotional shot of Velvet Collection

Mobile giant Telefonica's Spanish PayTV group Movistar+ has announced a gamble on an unprecedented volume of exclusive Spanish-language shows as a means of attracting new subscribers, something it has been doing with increasing success of late.

The company was formed as a result of a 2015 merger and rebrand of Movistar TV and Canal+, and now boasts just shy of four million subscribers, masterminding an uprise in PayTV subscription with the launch of a new Velvet Collection series, a sequel to Velvet. Partly to thank for this boost was also the release of a lower price option called Fusion + Ocio. On the original content front, Movistar+ is perhaps only comparable in scale to Sky UK's efforts in Europe.

Speaking to The Drum from Mipcom, Movistar+’s head of content, Domingo Corral shared how the company is embarking on an unprecedented original content drive that will touch down in Spanish-speaking nations such as Spain, Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Peru, Ecuador, Venezuela, Colombia, Mexico, Guatemala, Panamá, El Salvador, Costa Rica and Nicaragua.

As a quadplay provider, Telefónica's Movistar+ has multiple rivals but one force looking to disrupt its home market is Netflix. But Movistar+ argues that it has a lot more original Spanish programming in the works than the global video giant, which is producing much fewer Spanish programs. Among the series set to launch is ‘The Plague, ‘La Zona,’ ‘Felix,’, ‘Giants’ and ‘Look What You’ve Done’. These were exhibted at Mipcom.

To deliver this, the group is set to spend 70m euros per year in 2017 and 2018. This will produce around 10-12 series per year.

Corral said: "We believe in marketing, our first show [of this new slate] launched three weeks ago, already Velvet is the most watched show on our platform, that tells you how important local content is, something very close to our viewers' reality. This is just the beginning."

On building a desirable offering he said: "We want to offer our clients something unique and distinctive, one way is original programming, it is a very powerful tool."

And could the shows run in English-speaking markets? On this Corral remarked: "When you make a show that from storytelling standpoint is ambitious, it is universal, I see these shows being played in English in the UK and the US. There is international potential."

Earlier this year streaming services bypassed PayTV offerings for the first time ever. What followed was the established PayTV players upping their exclusive offerings to attract in customers. Further to this, players like Disney decided to enter the streaming space with bespoke subscription services.

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