More than 300 hours of international scripted TV will be available on the PBS Masterpiece channel on Amazon after the U.S. broadcaster struck a deal with Walter Presents, the on-demand drama service backed by the U.K.’s Channel 4. Selected titles will also play on the linear PBS service.
Walter Presents has a lineup of non-English-language drama curated by Walter Iuzzolino, a former commissioner and programming executive, who presents the titles to viewers.
PBS Masterpiece is on Amazon Prime as part of the latter’s channels service. The deal with Walter Presents means series including Danish drama “Norskov” – billed as a “modern Scandinavian Western” – and “Professor T,” the hit Belgian show about a crime-fighting psychologist, will be available on the PBS Masterpiece Amazon channel.
Non-English-language drama is gaining ground around the world with services such as Walter Presents, public broadcasting channels including BBC Four in the U.K., and Amazon and Netflix, which are acquiring and commissioning international dramas and launching them globally.
Walter Presents is already available in the U.S., including through Roku set-tops. The PBS deal was done between the U.K.-based service and PBS Distribution.
PBS has a strong track record of picking up and co-producing British drama. Expanding that effort to include foreign drama “is a natural fit,” said PBS Distribution co-president Andrea Downing. She added: “Walter Presents will deliver hand-selected global hits to our audience.”
Iuzzolino said: “The PBS Masterpiece Prime Video Channel already provides audiences with a fabulous collection of British series. Now, subscribers will have access to some truly amazing global drama series providing a chance to enjoy the very best the rest of the world has to offer.”
Walter Presents is expanding its international footprint. It recently launched in mainland Europe, in association with Discovery. It is also in Australia, in partnership with pay-TV platform Foxtel.