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International Newswire: Netflix Leads Streaming Pack in Oz

In today’s International Newswire, Netflix is top dog among streaming platforms in Australia; Studio Hamburg launches Paradise Papers documentary; ‘The Divine Order’ opens Zagreb Film Festival; and South Africa’s M-Net 101 picks up “Dancing with the Stars.”

In a new report on subscription VOD in Australia, London-based research group Ampere Analysis found that Netflix is the top SVOD service in the country, followed by Stan and Foxtel Now. Ampere estimates that the number of hours of TV and movies available on Netflix has nearly tripled in the last three years, addressing early concerns about the strength of its offer. Australia is one of Netflix’s strongest markets in terms of the size of its catalog. While SVOD is extremely popular in Australia and has made significant inroads, pay-TV service growth has stalled – 51% of Australian internet users have at least one SVOD subscription versus 35% taking pay-TV.

Current events are likely to give Studio Hamburg Enterprises a boost as it launches sales of “Paradise Papers,” a one-hour documentary that examines the fallout of leaked confidential documents that uncovered the offshore investments of high-profile figures, from Robert Mercer, Republican megadonor and owner of rightwing news site Breitbart, and U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross to Queen Elizabeth II. The documents, originating from offshore law firm Appleby and corporate services provider Estera, were leaked to German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung (SZ), which shared them with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. A team of researchers at SZ and German broadcasters NDR and WDR are analyzing the massive data dump.

The 15th Zagreb Film Festival kicks off on Saturday with Petra Volpe’s Swiss drama “The Divine Order,” about the struggle of women in Switzerland to finally gain the right to vote in 1971, opening the fest. Thirteen feature films are in the running for the fest’s Golden Pram, among them Francis Lee’s British gay love story “God’s Own Country,” Ali Asgari’s Iranian drama “Disappearance,” and Milad Alami’s Danish illegal immigrant drama “The Charmer.” Also screening in competition are Australian director Jeffrey Walker’s “Ali’s Wedding,” Kirsten Tan’s Singaporean elephant tale and foreign-language film Oscar candidate “Pop Aye,” and Samuel Maoz’s Israeli pic “Foxtrot.”

South African pay-TV channel M-Net 101 is adding the BBC Worldwide format “Dancing With the Stars” to its Sunday night lineup early next year. The South African version of the hit show, which has been licensed to more than 50 countries around the world, is produced for M-Net by Rapid Blue and will be broadcast live on M-Net 101 from February. “Dancing with the Stars S.A.” will be co-hosted by radio and television presenter Tracey Lange and musical theater actor and model Chris Jaftha. Joel Churcher, BBC Worldwide’s VP and general manager for Africa, said M-Net was “the perfect home for the most glitzy and glamorous competition on television which is sure to take S.A. by storm.”

AMC Networks International – U.K. has appointed Alina Florea and Sam Rowden to newly created positions, with Florea named director of acquisitions and content partnerships and Rowden assuming the role of director of programming, CBS Channels. Florea will oversee content acquisitions across AMCNI U.K.’s portfolio of 10 brands and also manage studio relations and content partnerships, including the CBS U.K. and EMEA joint ventures co-owned by AMCNI U.K. and CBS Studios International. Rowden, most recently director of programming, CBS Reality and New Media, will now have full responsibility for the programming strategy for the whole CBS channel portfolio across the U.K. and EMEA. They will continue to report to Kevin Dickie, senior VP, Channels Group, U.K., MEA and Poland.

Revenue from non-traditional TV advertising boosted third-quarter revenue for Germany’s two biggest commercial broadcasting groups this week. ProSiebenSat.1 posted a 3% sales increase to €883 million ($1.03 billion), with net profit up 1% to €99 million ($115.3 million), due in part to contributions from its distribution business, U.S. multi-channel network Studio71 and ad-tech activities. RTL Group posted a 1.5% increase in Q3 revenue to €1.37 billion ($1.59 billion), with net profit up 11.8% to €114 million ($133 million), largely attributable to its German and French operations as well as its rapidly growing digital businesses. In the first nine months, RTL also boasted growth at its Canadian unit BroadbandTV and the sale of “American Gods” to Amazon Prime Video.

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