Starting with the launch of high-fashion melodrama “Velvet Collection” on Sept. 22 last year, followed by seven more scripted productions to date, the launch of original series from Spain’s Movistar Plus has helped stem the company’s loss of pay-TV subscribers. In 2016, pay-TV clients dropped 0.4% year on year. But in 2017, pay-TV accesses were up 5%, or 92,100 customers, to 3.848 million by year-end. It remains to be seen, after Movistar Plus renewed Champions League and La Liga Spanish league soccer rights, how much subs may grow this September. Most to the point, however, average revenue per subscriber of Movistar Plus’ bundled broadband-TV-mobile customers rose strongly over the past 12 months from €84.8 ($99.5), second quarter 2017, to €89.5 ($105), May-June.
“We all had the intuition at Telefonica that our customers would want to have content made here in Spain, talking about our reality and made by our talent. That has been proved right,” says Domingo Corral, director of Movistar + original fiction.
One year of operations has also confirmed some key Movistar + production tenets.
One is the importance of talent. “First who, then what; that’s been our slogan,” Corral says, referring to not just directors but also creators, producers and key crew. “We’ve given them resources, freedom and responsibility, and here we’ll up the ante.”
Another: the onus on originality. “Taking risks is the only way of staying relevant,” says Corral.
Above all, “we’ve always attempted character-driven series,” he adds, citing Mariano Barroso’s “What the Future Holds.” “It’s not a high-concept series that is easy to communicate, but it does have a fascinating central character,” he says of Justo Gil, an ingénue on the make in a rapidly modernizing Barcelona, in the final years of Francisco Franco’s dictatorship.