Telefonica, Vivendi Clinch Studio Plus Latin America Distribution Deal

Also including Vivendi premium music service WatchMusic, agreement creates a first significant Vivendi-Telefonica partnership

MADRID  Confirming expectations, France’s Vivendi Group and Spain’s Telefonica has inked an agreement for the giant Spanish telco to distribute Vivendi’s Studio Plus in Latin America.

A production label making short-format, premium international series for mobiles, Studio Plus was announced at Mip TV as bowing September/October in Europe and Latin America, reaching 20 countries at the beginning.

The Vivendi-Telefonica deal, which also sees Telefonica acquiring exclusive rights to premium Vivendi music video platform WatchMusic, makes Telefonica the first telco to sign up for Studio Plus.

It also confirms the first significant alliance between Vivendi and Telefonica, Vivendi’s most obvious partner in Spain and Latin America to grow a Southern European media empire as its   partnership with Italy’s Mediaset stalls. Presenting its full-year 2015 results this February, Vivendi already announced that it was in “advanced discussions” to launch “innovative mobile first video services across Latam this autumn” and looked to Telefonica to increase its distribution footprint. Telefonica’s Movistar Plus, by far Spain’s biggest pay TV operator,

A Telefonica press statement gave no dates for the launch of Studio Plus across Latin America, where it will be offered under the Movistar and Vivo brands.

Selling unlimited access to music videos, concerts and festivals plus original content such as “WatchMusic Moments,”  WatchMusic will launch in Brazil this October via Vivo.

Packing ten ten-minute episodes, Studio Plus’ first series will be unveiled in upcoming weeks.

“Vivendi and Telefonica share the same view that compelling content and innovative formats will meet the expectations of new audiences,” Dominique Delport, chairman of Vivendi Content, said in a press statement.

He added that “there is still a lack of premium content designed for mobile customers and that Vivendi “intended to roll out globally the services “in the next months.”

“We’ve seen a mobile first mind-set that confirms the smartphone is the most favoured way to access internet experiences for most of our millions of mobile customers worldwide,” said Michael Duncan, Telefonica Group CEO of its consumer unit.

Studio Plus’ line-up of about 25 series includes a clutch from Latin America. Of those known to date, through teasers or press reveals, Carlos Moreno has directed “Blanca,” a narco action thriller starring Spain’s Carlos Bardem (“Cell 211”) and Colombia’s Martina Garcia (“The Hidden Face”); and Studio Plus has also ordered Peruvian director Daniel Martin Rodriguez’s comedy “Aj Zombies,” set against a walking dead apocalypse in Latin America.

One of Europe’s biggest telecoms, with a turnover of €47.2 billion ($52.6 billion) in 2015, Telefonica’s Movistar Plus also bought four series from Vivendi-backed Studiocanal in June, including three of its banner 2015-16 banner series: “Section Zero,” “The Five” and “Spotless.” The Studio Plus deal now adds a strategic partnership edge to Vivendi-Telefonica relations.

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