You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

French Telco Orange Rolling Out International Sales Division, Venturing into TV Drama

Following the footsteps of major telco groups around the world, France’s leading telecom group Orange is set to significantly ramp up its content input with the launch of an international sales division.

The international sales division will allow Orange Studio to become a vertically-integrated company such as Gaumont, Studiocanal and TF1 Studio. Back in November, Orange Studio signed a distribution deal with UGC Images, a subsidiary of Europe’s second-biggest cinema circuit, to kick off direct-distribution operations in France.

Orange Studio also entered a partnership with Jean-Philippe Tirel’s Selective Films to co-acquire films. The first movie co-acquired with Selective Films that is set to be released under the new Orange Studio Distribution label is Jonathan Teplitzky’s “Churchill.”

The first international sales slate of Orange Studio includes Claude Lanzmann’s documentary feature “Napalm,” which is playing in the special screening section at Cannes, and Sekou Traore’s “The Eye of the Storm,” an Africa-set drama about a young soldier who has to defend a rebel soldier.

Kessler said this new activity would be part of Orange Content, a newly-created umbrella division that regroups all of Orange’s entertainment businesses.

When it launched in 2007, Orange Studio had a partnership with Gregoire Melin’s Kinology but since that deal ended a few years ago, the banner was only involved in selling second-window rights to select movies.

“When we see AT&T with Warner or Telefonica with Movistar Plus, it’s obvious that there is a lot of business to do between telecom companies and premium content purveyors. We can’t just sit there and watch, we want to be part of this ongoing trend,” said Kessler.

The French telco landscape has become increasingly competitive due to SFR’s big push into content since it was acquired by Altice. Vivendi-owned pay TV group Canal Plus and TF1 also have aggressive content acquisition strategies.

The company, which operates the film division, Orange Studio and the pay TV group Orange Cinema Series, is also getting ready to invest in TV drama, either by co-financing, co-producing or selling worldwide, said David Kessler, who runs Orange Studio.

Kessler didn’t disclose the annual budget for TV drama investment but said it would be more than 10 million euros ($8.9 million). Their investment into film totals about 20 million euros ($17.8 million) per year.

Just before Cannes, Orange Cinema Series made an exclusive, multi-year deal for all of HBO shows. That deal, which was reportedly very costly, underscored OCS’s committment to offer exclusive content to its subscribers.

OCS is already involved in premium series (mostly half-hour shows) and has been collaborating with several French producers such as Empreinte Digitale, which recently delivered sci-fi series “Missions.” That series world premiered at MipTV and won the TV Critics Award. Orange Studio will now be working hand-in-hand with OCS on one-hour drama production, Kessler said.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Aaron Janus Lionsgate

    Lionsgate Hires 'A Quiet Place' Producer Aaron Janus as Senior VP of Production

    Lionsgate has hired Aaron Janus as its new senior vice president of production and promoted Meredith Wieck to the post of vice president of production.  Prior to Lionsgate, Janus served as Platinum Dunes’ head of development, where he oversaw filmmakers Brad Fuller, Andrew Form and Michael Bane. There, he brought in “A Quiet Place,” on [...]

  • Ang Lee Reveals First Look at

    Ang Lee on 'Gemini Man' and De-Aging Will Smith

    On paper, Ang Lee’s “Gemini Man” is a standard-issue, shoot ’em up with Will Smith playing a deadly assassin who must battle a younger clone of himself. The explosions and gun battles aren’t what drew Lee to the project, even if they’re the reason that most people will show up at theaters when it opens [...]

  • Hopper Reserve

    Dennis Hopper's Dying Wish: His Own Strain of Marijuana

    Even as celebrity brands are starting to flood the emerging Cannabis market, Hopper Reserve stands out. The brand was launched by Marin Hopper, Dennis Hopper’s daughter from his marriage to Brooke Hayward. Hopper Reserve is a gram of California indoor-grown flower, two packs of rolling papers, a pair of matches and a trading card either [...]

  • Sean Clarke Aardman Staff Photography Bristol.Pic

    Aardman Appoints Sean Clarke as New Managing Director

    Aardman, the Oscar-winning animation studio behind “Chicken Run” and “Early Man,” has appointed Sean Clarke as its new managing director, replacing co-founder David Sproxton, who is stepping down after 43 years. Clarke has worked at the British studio for more than 20 years, including heading the international rights and marketing department for over a decade. [...]

  • The Antenna

    Toronto Film Review: 'The Antenna'

    Jump scares, creepy noises and the tease of hidden-from-view dangers are all fine. But a truly frightening horror film unsettles with more than its crafts, but instead through the vulnerability of defenseless people stuck with bad options only. First-time writer-director Orçun Behram’s highly stylized and mildly disturbing “The Antenna,” a metaphor on Turkey’s current ruling [...]

  • Ad Astra Box Office

    Box Office Battle: 'Ad Astra' Takes on 'Rambo: Last Blood' and 'Downton Abbey'

    “Hustlers” and “Good Boys” proved that even in the age of Marvel dominance and remake mania, movies that don’t exist within an established franchise can still be box office draws. Can “Ad Astra” continue that trend? The space drama — starring Brad Pitt and directed by James Gray — arrives on the big screen this [...]

  • Harvey Weinstein Accuser Lucia Evans Breaks

    Harvey Weinstein Accuser Lucia Evans Breaks Silence After D.A. Dropped Charge

    Lucia Evans gave a wrenching account on Tuesday of her efforts to hold Harvey Weinstein responsible for sexual assault, saying she felt betrayed after the Manhattan D.A.’s office dropped her allegations last year. Evans spoke to Variety after giving a speech at a conference on influencer fraud in Manhattan, making her first public comments on [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content