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Telefonica’s Movistar ramping up pay TV originals

Scripted-logo-460_2Spanish telco Telefonica is ramping up its original local output on its Movistar Plus pay TV service, as it seeks to beat off competition from the likes of HBO and Netflix.

DOMINGO-CORRALIn an exclusive interview with TBI Scripted, Movistar Plus original production director Domingo Corral said the service aims to join the ranks of the top pay platforms such as Canal+ and Sky, which have both invested heavily in production, and is prepping a raft of local drama series.

Period drama La Peste went into production earlier this year and will launch in 2017, and Corral said there were over 20 projects in development.

The majority of the series will be Spanish-language, but there are also plans for one big English-language project per year.

The slate will comprise one-hour dramas and half-hour comedies and the pay TV firm is working with film producers including David Trueba (Living is Easy with Eyes Closed) and Cesc Gay (Truman), plus another by actor and celebrity Berto Romero (Spanish Affair 2).

Movistar Plus has about 3.7 million subs in Spain, but competition in pay TV and SVOD is heating up with Netflix joining the fray last year and HBO having a standalone streaming service.

Netflix this month unveiled its first Spanish original, a currently untitled series from Bambú Producciones about four female switchboard operators in the 1920s. However, the volume of Movistar’s originals drive could give it an edge.

“Whoever doesn’t make a true bet on local production will have a very limited run, which is what you [ultimately] get with good international TV series,” said Corral. “Spaniards first want to see Spanish series, in the same way Americans first want to see US series.”

Movistar will seek to retain rights and expects the Spanish drama drive to yield results internationally. “We think they will also have an international run,” said Corral, who joined Movistar after working at Turner Broadcasting System.

The full interview with Domingo Corral can be read here