Paramount Channel Latin America Gets Rights to Netflix’s ‘House of Cards,’ ‘Orange Is the New Black’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Adding series for the first time to its 24-hour all-movie programming in 2017

Paramount C. LA buys Netflix’s House

Signalling a shift in programming strategy, Viacom’s Paramount Channel Latin America has snapped up exclusive pay TV rights to Netflix’s iconic award-winning shows “House of Cards” and “Orange is the New Black.”

“The idea is to start including TV series this year to what has been 100% movie programming since the channel’s launch two years ago,” said Federico Cuervo, SVP of VIMN Americas and Paramount Channel Brand Manager.

“The appetite for TV series in this ‘golden age’ of TV has grown,” he noted, adding: “They will greatly complement our movie programming.”

Aside from tapping Paramount Pictures’ 100+ year-old library and current crop of movies, Paramount Channel Latin America, a unit of Viacom International Media Networks, has featured films from other studios and indies. Starting in 2017, the channel will be offering up to 1,200 hours of content.

Paramount Channel is betting that not all its 25 million basic pay TV subscribers in the region have seen the game-changing series from Netflix which does not break out figures for territories but most certainly has far less subscribers in Latin America.

According to market research company Business Bureau (BB), the penetration of pay TV households in Latin America is at 52% as of Sept. 2016 compared to 31% for OTTs, as of July 2016. Naturally, online piracy has been a major issue but “if you offer shows in a legal and accessible way, people will respond,” said Cuervo.

Paramount Channel has signed on as a media sponsor in some film festivals, starting in 2015 with the Los Cabos Int’l Film Festival, which it covered again last year. In 2016, it also covered red carpet events and conducted interviews at the Morelia Int’l Film Festival in Mexico. “The idea is for Paramount Channel to have a presence in festivals in each region,” said Cuervo. The channel first launched in Spain in 2012 before rolling out across various territories in Europe, including Russia. It launched in Latin America in November 2014.

Created and produced by Jenji Kohan in association with Lionsgate TV, “Orange is the New Black” is based on the bestselling memoir by Piper Kerman who relates her experiences at a federal prison for women. The fourth season went live on Netflix on June 17.

Media Rights Capital-produced political drama “House of Cards” is an adaptation of the original BBC show based on the novel by Michael Dobbs. Show starring Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright has been renewed for a fifth season.