×

OCS Innovates to Win in Shifting Landscape

When OCS entered the scene in France in November 2008, the media landscape looked wholly different. Netflix sent DVDs by mail; “The Sopranos” had come to an end, robbing HBO of a flagship title; and French viewers would sometimes have to wait weeks — or months — to catch up on the buzziest international series.

Much has changed in the intervening decade, and the pay TV bouquet played a significant role in affecting one major shift.

In 2012, OCS sought to curb the threat of online piracy by instituting the US+24 service, airing episodes of HBO’s newest flagship series “Game of Thrones” within a day of its U.S. premiere.

Both the media landscape and the pay TV service have continued to innovate and evolve since then, but one thing has remained a constant ever since OCS launched wielding an output deal from a certain premium cable operator.

“Our backbone is HBO, and that will remain a central part of our identity,” says Boris Duchesnay, OCS’ programming director.

“We have a deal with HBO that has grown over the years. We started with a simple output deal and transformed that into total exclusivity. We have all of their programs and they don’t go anywhere else. And more, we offer their entire catalog on subscription VOD. That’s an integral part of our DNA, and it won’t change.”

In 2017, OCS signed a new deal with HBO, securing the latter’s full catalog well into the future. At the same time, those partners will head into a future short of one flagship series.

While OCS now offers episodes of “Game of Thrones” in simulcast with the U.S., the massively popular series will draw to a close following a six-episode run beginning this April.

“No doubt it stings to say goodbye to ‘Game of Thrones,’ but we are excited by HBO’s upcoming lineup,” Duchesnay says.

“We have standout series that draw viewers, and we’ll have them throughout the entire year.”

Beyond such upcoming offerings as “Westworld,” “Watchmen,” “Big Little Lies” and “True Detective,” OCS also has exclusive rights for non-HBO series including “Atlanta,” “The Walking Dead” and “The Handmaid’s Tale” — buzzy titles that hold commensurate appeal to the same audiences enamored by “Game of Thrones.”

And while Orange’s pay TV service has made a point of delivering subscribers one-stop-shopping for the most celebrated titles from across the pond, it has also taken care to invest in local productions.

The service produces five to six 30-minute series a year through its OCS Signature arm, offering young creators the same deal: A contained budget and boundless creative freedom. Recent hits have included the naturist cop show “Nu,” the sci-fi drama “Missions” and the slacker comedy “Irresponsible.”

“We’re hands-on at the beginning, when developing the first few episodes, but afterwards we’re not going in to re-work every subsequent script,” says Duchesnay.

“We don’t want to lose time, because the market is not just France, it’s worldwide. So we have to secure our place with a flexible working approach adapted to the current landscape.”

Also in 2017, Orange CEO Stéphane Richard announced the creation of Orange Content, a joint venture between OCS and Orange Studio that would invest €100 million ($114 million) in prestige productions over a period of five years for series to be broadcast on OCS platforms.

The group plans to invest in international and local, French-language series, all with an eye toward audacious fare that can travel abroad.

This year, they will broadcast the Umberto Eco adaptation “The Name of the Rose,” a John Turturro led series budgeted at $29.5 million and co-produced with Italy’s RAI television network.

While contracts stipulate that the show airs in Italy first, OCS subscribers won’t have long to wait in order to get their fix.

Popular on Variety

More TV

  • T.J. Dillashaw, right, kicks Cody Garbrandt

    Disney Plans UFC Broadcast for FX

    UFC matches will return to FX  – but not on a permanent basis. ESPN has been showing preliminary bouts to UFC pay-per-view events for the last while on ESPN and ESPN2, and then showing the main card on its ESPN+ subscription video service. In September, the early lineup will air on FX, which the UFC [...]

  • George RR Martin

    George R.R. Martin Says HBO's 'Game of Thrones' Ending Won't Influence Future Novels

    Geroge R.R. Martin is sticking to his original plan when it comes to the future of “Game of Thrones.” In an interview with The Observer, Martin claimed that HBO’s controversial ending for the series would have no affect on the endings of the last two novels. “No, it doesn’t. It doesn’t change anything at all,” [...]

  • Listen: 'Pennyworth' Producer Talks Delving into

    Listen: 'Pennyworth' Executive Producer Talks Delving into Alfred's Backstory

    Bruno Heller may have served as an executive producer on the Batman-inspired series “Gotham” for the past five years, but it’s actually real-life people (not superheroes) that intrigue the producer the most. It’s for that exact reason that Heller’s newest series finds him exploring the origin stories of Batman’s butler Alfred in the Epix drama [...]

  • "Trust Issues" - Dylan and Lizzie

    'Instinct' Canceled After Two Seasons

    CBS has canceled “Instinct” after two seasons. Series creator Michael Rauch announced the cancellation Friday on Twitter, writing, “I’m very sad to relay the news that @instinctcbs won’t be renewed for a 3rd season. We will double up this Sunday and our season/series finale will be Aug 25.” Rauch also thanked series stars Alan Cumming [...]

  • Maisel Day

    My Mostly OK Maisel Day (Column)

    When Amazon announced its first-ever Maisel Day, I was intrigued. For one day, Aug. 15, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” fans and Angelenos (fangelenos?) could hit up various restaurants, theaters and retailers throughout Los Angeles for special deals, all at 1959 prices. Among the gems: $2.50 makeovers, $0.99 pastrami sandwiches and $0.30 for a gallon of [...]

  • Nordisk Film & TV Fond Announces

    Nordisk Film & TV Fond Backs Joachim Trier, Ole Bornedal, Yellow Bird

    Nordisk Film & TV Fond has announced three features, two series and a documentary set to receive $1.4m in financing, as well as distribution, dubbing and cultural initiative support recipients. Doing so, it highlights some of the key titles moving forward in the Nordic region. Already backed by the Danish Film Institute’s largest ever grant [...]

  • TV News Roundup: 'Silicon Valley' Final

    TV News Roundup: 'Silicon Valley's' Final Season Sets October Premiere Date

    In today’s roundup, “Silicon Valley” returns to HBO on Oct. 27 and Quibi greenlights a new cooking competition show “Dismantled.” DATES The fifth season of Netflix‘s “Peaky Blinders” will premiere on the streamer Oct. 4. The newest season will continue to follow one gangster family in the lawless streets of Birmingham, UK during the midst [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content