Spain’s Telefonica Rebrands Pay TV Offering as Movistar Plus

New Spanish pay TV giant, merging Movistar TV and Canal Plus, debuts July 8

Telco giant Telefonica has merged its pay TV operations in Spain under the brand Movistar Plus, an ambitious new offering that represents the first significant sign of crossover synergies after anti-trust clearance of its acquisition in May 2014 of paybox Canal Plus Spain from Prisa.

As of Wednesday, the new service will be automatically extended, without additional costs, to the customers of Telefonica’s Movistar TV platform who were subscribers of quadruple play service Fusion Para Todos, and also to all Canal Plus clients. Gradually, Movistar Plus will reach out to the rest of Movistar TV subscribers, Telefonica said Monday in a statement. In total, 3.6 million customers will be able to access the new single pay TV service.

The basic TV offering of Movistar Plus, costing 20 Euros ($22) per month, will include 80 TV channels and access to a new version of premium channel Canal Plus and Yomvi’s SVOD service, with a range of 5,000 movies, series, documentaries and children program titles.

Clients of Movistar Plus basic can add three new subscription channel packages by program types.

Paying $5.50 more, subscribers access Canal Plus Series and Canal Plus Series Xtra, incorporating titles from Movistar Series, a SVOD service that Movistar launched in December.

Canal Plus Estrenos will include a large range of feature films, from Hollywood blockbusters to high-profile indie titles plus five theme channels, for $9.9 per month.

The sports channels bouquet, costing $22 a month, offers Movistar Formula 1, Movistar MotoGP, Canal Plus Deportes, Canal Plus Deportes2 and Canal Plus Golf Channels.

In Monday’s announcement, Telefonica does not make reference to the offer of Spanish soccer League matches, a powerful driver in attracting pay TV subscribers in the country.

After the merger, former Movistar TV users can access Canal Plus’ large number of premium films, TV series and sports rights and multiplatform VOD service Yomvi, launched in 2011. Telefonica will make available to Canal Plus clients rights such as Formula One and Moto GP transmissions, plus premium international TV skeins offered via Movistar Series.

“We believe that with this offer we can reach more customers, as it is designed to suit their needs, tastes and preferences. And we not only have the best content, but also the most innovative features and the most advanced services,” said Luis Miguel Gilpérez, chairman of Telefonica Spain.

The new version of Canal Plus, Spain’s long-term top premium channel and the jewel of the crown of former Prisa’s pay TV emporium, will not include the soccer matches of Sunday primetime nor top TV series nor new film releases, which will be offered via the new themed subscription packages.

According to figures by Spain’s National Commission on Markets and Competition (CNMC), by the end of 2014, Movistar TV and Canal Plus boasted respectively 1.9 and 1.7 million subscribers, which jointly represent 71% of the total Spanish pay TV market.

In April, Spain’s CNMC market regulator gave the thumbs up to Telefonica’s $790.9 million purchase of Prisa’s 56% stake in Canal Plus.

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