×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Vivendi: Has the Beautiful Game Just Turned Ugly for French Giant?

Today in Variety’s International Newswire, it’s all about soccer, with Vivendi losing French Premier League soccer rights, while Zidane’s resignation as Real Madrid manager may just make Spain’s LaLiga rights all the more attractive; in the fast contracting non-soccer universe, as the World Cup approaches, Netflix turns the screws on rivals in Brazil with a top company commission; Mexico’s Dopamine signals new hires 

Has Vivendi just scored a massive own goal? In what analyst François Godard, at Enders Analysis, describes as “the biggest shock to the French broadcasting system in a generation,” Spain’s Mediapro outbid Vivendi subsidiary Canal Plus, Europe’s second-biggest pay-TV player, for rights to French Premier League soccer matches for 2020-24. On Wednesday, the day after the auction, Vivendi stock plunged 3.64% by market close. It clawed back 0.56% by mid-morning Thursday, but analyst sentiment looks to be that Canal Plus now has a problem. The only question is how large. Mediapro bought rights to eight exclusive matches a play day, plus highlights of other games.

The Spanish holding company announced Wednesday night that it was intending to create its own 24/7 soccer channel in France, to be offered wholesale to all of the country’s premium-TV operators.

Canal Plus can now attempt to sub-license the rights or the channel from Mediapro. Indeed, with Canal Plus still by far France’s biggest pay-TV system, Mediapro needs Canal Plus just as much as Canal Plus needs Mediapro’s French soccer rights. Those negotiations might well go down to the wire in 2020, however. Or, if Mediapro can’t find buyers, it could walk away from the deal, as it seems to have done earlier this week in Italy, whose league authorities were demanding far steeper bank guarantees than seems to be the case in France. Again, that would take time to happen.

Soccer, with movies and now series, was Canal Plus’ main churn reducer. For the meantime, Canal Plus’ loss of French Premier League rights “sends a very disturbing signal to subscribers and to the whole business regardless of whether it will actually end up with Premier League games in 2020,” said Godard. Mediapro, in contrast, looks to be sitting pretty.

Netflix Turns Up the Volume in Brazil with Gullane’s ‘Nobody is Looking’ 

These days in Brazil, it’s hard to hire a decent TV crew as Netflix   turns up the volume on original Brazilian series production, where it has seen considerable success. Low-fi sci-fi thriller “3%,” produced for Netflix by Sao Paolo’s Boutique Filmes, is cited by the streaming giant as an exemplary hit in and outside Brazil. In the latest move, Gullane is set to produce Netflix’s newest original series, “Nobody is Looking,” a dramedy about the human condition, in which a guardian angel rebels against his boss’ orders. Academy Award-nominated editor Daniel Rezende (“City of God,” “Tree of Life”) directs. The order is a feather in the cap for Gullane, with o2 Filmes Brazil’s biggest film-TV producer, which punched huge ratings on Globo this year with “Jailers,” a 2017 MipDrama Screenings winner, and introduced at Cannes one of Brazil’s hottest movies, Fernando Coimbra’s upcoming “The Hanged.” “Nobody is Looking” also marks Netflix’s twelfth (sic) Brazilian original production, counting drama series, comedy specials, docs and movies. To date, established players have been able to outproduce Netflix: think Telefonica’s Movistar + in Spain. But Netflix’s commitment to local production in some markets is getting very serious indeed, and galvanizing the TV scene.

Dopamine Fills Our Executive Roster

Dopamine, the high-end production label of Mexico’s Grupo Salinas, owner of TV Azteca, has announced two new executives: Susan Rivera – chief market intelligence officer, and Fernando Paredes – CFO. Rivera has nearly two decades of experience at major Mexican broadcasters like TV Azteca and Fox Latin America, while Paredes is a Grupo Salinas veteran, having held multiple high-level positions in the areas of strategic planning, finance and budgeting. Earlier this month, the company also announced the additions of Amaya Muruzábal – chief content office, Gabriela Valentán – head of production, and Miguel Ángel Oliva – chief marketing officer.

Zidane Leaves Real Madrid: La Liga Rights Appreciate?

Shock, horror, amazement. Zinedine Zidane resigned Thursday morning as manager of Real Madrid, less than a week after it won the European Champions’ League for the fourth time in five years. But what’s that got to do with film and TV? Actually, quite a lot. On Monday May 28, Spain’s LaLiga invited bids for new Spanish soccer league rights over 2019-22. Spain’s main premium TV operators – Telefonica’s Movistar +, Vodafone and Orange – have spent months disparaging sports rights’ cost/return ratios, compared to those for original series, their own or third parties’, such as Netflix’s. None may bid for the new European Champions’ League rights. But Movistar + at least still needs Spain’s soccer league rights. With Zidane out of the picture, 2018-19’s soccer league has just got even more tantalizingly interesting. Just how much Movistar + may lose, one way or another, paying for Liga rights really matters, just as Canal Plus’ financial health in France. Both now rate as the biggest drivers of their countries’ movie-drama series industries. Zidane’s exit has a potential butterfly effect across the whole system.

Zinedine Zidane, Florentino Perez. Zinedine Zidane listens to the questions of journalists during a press conference in Madrid, Spain, . Zidane quit as Real Madrid coach on Thursday, less than a week after leading the team to its third straight Champions League title, saying the club needed a change in commandReal Zidane Quits, Madrid, Spain - 31 May 2018
CREDIT: Borja B. Hojas/AP/REX/Shutterstock

More TV

  • Mj Rodriguez, Nico Santos to Announce

    Mj Rodriguez, Nico Santos to Announce GLAAD Media Award Nominations

    Mj Rodriguez and Nico Santos are set to announce the nominees for the 30th annual GLAAD Media Awards. The “Pose” star and “Crazy Rich Asians” funny man will make the announcement during a live-stream from the AT&T Hello Lounge at the Sundance Film Festival on Friday, Jan. 25. Related 'The Sopranos' Cast Remembers James Gandolfini: [...]

  • Naomi Watts

    Naomi Watts to Star in Jason Blum-Produced Quibi Series 'Wolves and Villagers' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Naomi Watts has been cast in the lead role in the upcoming Quibi series “Wolves and Villagers,” Variety has learned exclusively. The exact plot of the short-form series is being kept under wraps, but Quibi co-founder Jeffrey Katzenberg has previously described the show as “Fatal Attraction 2.0.” Jason Blum is executive producing the series, with [...]

  • HBO's 'Breslin And Hamill' Documentary Drops

    HBO's 'Breslin And Hamill' Documentary Drops Trailer

    “Revolutionary,” “superstars,” “the voice of true New Yorkers” — that’s how Spike Lee and other influential figures describe journalists Jimmy Breslin and Pete Hamill in the trailer released for HBO’s “Breslin and Hamill: Deadline Artists” documentary. The film, which premieres Jan. 28 at 8 p.m. ET/PT, follows the two newspaper columnists whose dedication and wit [...]

  • Riverdale Chapter Twenty-Six

    TV News Roundup: 'Riverdale' Sets 'Heathers' Musical Episode

    In Thursday’s roundup, “Riverdale” is set to tackle “Heathers: The Musical,” and Freeform has announced its second annual summit. DATES  Related 'The Sopranos' Cast Remembers James Gandolfini: 'A Gem of a Human' Cate Blanchett's 'Where'd You Go, Bernadette' Moved Back to August The musical episode of the CW’s “Riverdale,” featuring nine songs, will air Wednesday, March [...]

  • The Bone Collector

    NBC Orders 'Bone Collector' Drama Pilot 'Lincoln'

    NBC has ordered the drama pilot “Lincoln,” formerly known as “The Bone Collector.” Based on the internationally bestselling book series, “Lincoln” follows legendary forensic criminologist Lincoln Rhyme, who was seriously injured during his hunt for the diabolic serial killer known as the Bone Collector. Called back into action when the killer re-emerges, Lincoln forms a [...]

  • Netflix - Apple TV

    Netflix Turns in Record Q4 Subscriber Gain, Price Increase Weighs on U.S. Forecast

    Netflix is beating Wall Street expectations for international subscriber growth — but its recently announced price increase in the U.S. may have put a damper on its momentum in the States. For the fourth quarter of 2018, Netflix reported 1.53 million paid net adds in the U.S. and 7.31 million internationally, to end the year [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content