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Liberty’s Telenet moves into original drama

Days ahead of Netflix’s Belgian launch, Liberty-backed cabler Telenet has unveiled plans for its first original scripted series.

Chaussée d’Amour (The Strip of Love) will be a ten-part series made with local prodco deMensen. All episodes of the show will be released simultaneously, the release pattern pioneered by Netflix, on Telenet’s Rio and Rex premium services.

The series will be directed by Nathalie Bastyns (Clan) and production will get underway next year ahead of delivery in 2016. It will follows Sylvia, an upstanding single mother who ends up running a brothel. Concurrently, a murder investigation takes place along the same strip with the investigating detective and Sylvia’s paths becoming increasingly interlinked.

In late 2012, the Flemish cable company said it would put €30 million (US$38.9 million) into local programming over a four-year period, an initiative known as the Telenet Stimulus for Audiovisual Productions in Flanders (STAP). “This will make it possible to realise a number of new productions every year that would otherwise not have materialised,” it said at the time.

Today, Telenet said Chaussée d’Amour will be the first premium drama out of the Flemish region. The cabler said it is talking to free-TV channels about them taking a window on the show and transmitting it after it has debuted on Rex and Rio.

“Telenet opted to produce its own series because, in this way, the company can introduce its viewers to new ways of watching fiction,” it said. “The ten episodes will all be available at the same time: once again an all-time first for a Flemish series.”

Inge Smidts, senior VP, residential marketing added: “By investing ourselves, an additional, high-quality Flemish series can be produced, and we are given the opportunity to offer this to our customers in a completely new way, so that we can better meet their expectations”.

Telenet also noted that it has invested in over 20 films to date under the STAP programme.