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Movistar Plus President Sergio Oslé Eyes the Bigger Picture

When Movistar Plus president Sergio Oslé moved into his office, there was a painting hanging on one of the walls. He’s replaced it with a dinky basketball hoop. Though born in Spain’s Bilbao, as Spanish newspaper El Mundo once noted, there’s something distinctly non-Spanish about Oslé, who’s worked in the U.K., Brazil, Australia, Malaysia and Singapore. He is as much at home, maybe more so, talking business in English than Spanish. As befits a former McKinsey consultant, his interest is in the bigger picture as he steers Movistar Plus into the future.

That means breaking molds. Since its inception in 1990 as Canal Plus, which Movistar parent Telefonica acquired in 2014, the pay TV operator has been modeled on its French counterpart: high-priced and aimed at a large middle-class. But Spain’s middle classes are far smaller. So in June, Oslé broke with the past, launching Movistar Plus Lite, which he calls a “fairly unique, high-quality sampler,” priced at just €8 ($9) a month, targeting far broader demographics.

One key strategy for Oslé, he says, is “to continue being obsessed about attracting the best talent and providing them with the environment to create truly distinctive shows.”

Yet another, with international repercussions, is to “take bold steps in gaining scale more rapidly by collaborating more closely with both international and local content providers.”

This is not about investing more money, Oslé clarifies, but rather creating a solid (beyond a one-show-deal) network of partners.

In April, Movistar Plus announced a multi-year production-distribution alliance with Germany’s Beta Film. Erotic thriller “Instinct” and fact-based “On Death Row” are both co-produced by Studiocanal, owned by Vivendi’s Canal Plus Group. France’s Arte partnered with Movistar on “Hierro,” just confirmed as Movistar Plus’ most-watched original series after 80 days. Emerging as a partner of choice of such illustrious European drama series players after only a year of releases is a noteworthy achievement. More partnerships are likely to follow.

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