CBS’s Showtime Finds Home in Spain With Telefonica’s Movistar Plus

Macro deal bulwarks Telefonica’s Movistar Plus, Spain’s biggest TV operator, as HBO prepares to launch in Spain

Billions Showtime Emmy Race
Courtesy of Showtime

MADRID — CBS Studios International has inked a long-term exclusive licensing deal in Spain for Showtime shows and brand usage with Telefonica’s pay-TV operator Movistar Plus.

The Showtime pact, which is for linear and VOD rights for Spain, follows deals with Canada’s Bell Media in early 2015 and pan-European pay-TV operator Sky last January (Britain, Ireland, Germany, Austria and Italy), as CBS capitalizes on the renewed strength of the Showtime brand.

Movistar Plus had acquired individual Showtime series in the past, such as “Masters of Sex,” now bowing season 4 in Spain. The new CBS-Movistar Plus deal is a far larger accord, taking in all future first-run series, as well as dramas on air and a selection of library titles, a press statement said Tuesday.

The deal will kick off in November with “Billions,” starring Damian Lewis and Paul Giamatti, followed by the Jim Carrey-produced “I’m Dying Up Here,” “Twin Peaks” and miniseries “Purity,” with Daniel Craig.

Further series include “Ray Donovan,” “Penny Dreadful,” The Affair” and “House of Lies.”

Speculation in Spain was that HBO might attempt to snag Showtime to anchor its on-demand streaming service, which it said would launch in Spain before year’s end and for which it has a carriage deal on Vodafone.

Boasting 3.8 million clients, the biggest customer base of any pay-TV operator in Spain, Movistar Plus leveraged its muscle to nab Showtime, one of the biggest content jewels on the market. The deal is opportune for Movistar Plus, which has first-run rights to “Game of Thrones” but will not be able to screen future HBO series.

“Over the last few years, we’ve had the highest-profile Showtime series on our service, but it’s from now when we will be able to maximize all its potential,” Movistar Plus CEO Pedro Garcia Guilen said in a statement.