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France’s OCS in Talks to Pick Up Content Rights, Output Deals From Altice Studio (EXCLUSIVE)

Orange Cinema Series (OCS), the pay-TV group owned by French telecom Orange, is in talks to pick up content rights and output deals from Altice Studio, the year-old film and TV arm of Patrick Drahi’s financially struggling telecom conglomerate Altice, Variety has learned.

In play is Altice’s deal with NBCUniversal, which encompasses the next Jason Bourne installment, “The Mummy,” “The Fate of the Furious,” “Fifty Shades Darker,” and Jessica Biel anthology series “The Sinner.” Altice Studio also has an output deal with Discovery and first-run rights to series such as “Taken” and “Riviera,” as well as movies from the libraries of Gaumont, Pathé, Mars, EuropaCorp, Wild Side, SND, MK2 and Le Pacte.

“We’re not talking about a merger with Altice Studio, as has been reported,” a source close to Orange said. “The talks are about acquisitions of certain rights which would allow OSC to enrich its content offer, especially with premium films.”  OCS already has output deals with HBO and Sony Pictures Television but would benefit from enlarging its pipeline of high-profile films, the source said.

Altice Studio bowed last August as part of the Netherlands-based telecom group’s ambition to pursue an aggressive content strategy but started pulling back in November when the company unveiled its third-quarter results, which showed that its total debt had reached €49.6 billion ($58.4 billion).

If the talks between Altice Studio and OCS result in an agreement, it’s unclear what would remain of Altice Studio. A deal would also sharpen OCS’ competitive edge in France, where the leading pay-TV player, Canal Plus, has just lost broadcast rights to French Premier League soccer matches starting in 2020 and expects to lure subscribers with more series and films.

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