The growing influx of streaming giants in the U.S. market is a boon for premium Latinx-content streaming platform, Pantaya. That’s how Paul Presburger, CEO of both Pantaya and Pantelion Films, views it. “I see them more as potential partners, whether it’s in distribution like Apple TV and Amazon Prime Video, or as production and programming partners,” he said, citing deals with Amazon Prime Video and co-production talks underway with other platforms.
The two-year old Lionsgate-Hemisphere Media joint venture has just surpassed the 500,000 subs benchmark, exceeding its growth forecasts. Being the only streaming platform providing premium Latinx programming in the U.S. and Puerto Rico with “higher budgets, better production values and bigger stars” has been key to attracting a spectrum of Latinx subs, ranging from the Spanish-dominant and bi-lingual demos to English-dominant viewers, Presburger asserted.
Merging the young, mostly Latino marketing teams of Pantelion Films, the nine-year old Lionsgate-Televisa joint venture, and Pantaya has also been a vital factor in Pantaya’s expansion. Moreover, premium pay TV network Starz, owned by Lionsgate, has been an important strategic partner in programming and distribution. Pantaya streams Starz’s bi-lingual hit show “Vida” and is likely to co-produce other new series with Starz.
Pantelion Films and Pantaya’s presence in the U.S. market has become even more crucial given the recent study by Dr. Stacy Smith and the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative in partnership with NALIP, which highlighted the continued paucity of Latinx representation in Hollywood.
“We’re proud to have assembled the greatest creative voices in the Latinx community across our Spanish-language vertical,” said Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer who has been championing Lionsgate’s Spanish-language initiatives throughout the studio’s 20-year history.
“Spanish-speaking audiences over-index on every entertainment platform, and super-serving them with consistent slates of great content is not only the right thing to do but simply good business,” he noted.
With content partners Televisa, Corazon Films, Dragon Films, Eugenio Derbez and Ben Odell’s 3Pas Studios and others, Pantaya has begun to produce original programs. First out the gate this year was “El Juego de las Llaves,” a ribald dramedy that follows four swinging couples as they agree to switch partners. Prepping for season two is underway.
On October 18, Pantaya reality show “De Viaje Con Los Derbez” trails the extended Derbez family on the vacation of a lifetime in Morocco, prompting the question on whether this family of adult children, spouses and children, will survive being together for the first time.
Amazon Prime Video releases both series in the rest of the world.
Upcoming Pantaya Originals for next year include:
*“Erre,” an action-comedy series starring Mauricio Ochmann, in partnership with Viacom Int’l Studios and Yellow Studios, about a man who throws caution to the wind after he’s been diagnosed with a life-threatening disease…. only to find out later that he may have been misdiagnosed.
*“La Negociadora,” a high concept thriller in partnership with 11:11 Films and Claro Video. It features Barbara Mori who plays Mexico’s leading hostage negotiator who needs to unearth some messy secrets in order to save innocent lives in one of the country’s most terrifying standoffs.
Exclusive to Pantaya in the U.S. and Puerto Rico is the semi-autobiographical comedy series “Ana,” a Viacom Int’l Studios series starring and created by Ana de la Reguera (“Narcos,” “Goliath”), which plays on the Comedy Channel Latin America and on Amazon Prime in the rest of the world.
Pantaya also benefits from its symbiotic link with Pantelion Films. “In the nine years since we started, Pantelion Films has released eight of the top 10 top ten grossing Spanish-language or bilingual films in the U.S.,” Presburger pointed out, adding that “one of the other two was from Roadside Attractions, which is also a Lionsgate venture.”
Oftentimes, a new film will stream on Pantaya while it’s still playing in Mexico in order to leverage off the current marketing of the film. They have also collapsed the transactional window to allow the film’s simultaneous availability on sell-thru and on Pantaya, said Presburger.
Upcoming Pantelion movie releases include:
“No Manches Frida 2,” the sequel to Pantaya’s most streamed title, “No Manches Frida,” starring Omar Chaparro and Martha Higareda; “En Brazos de un Asesino,” an erotic suspense thriller starring William Levy and Alicia Sanz; Jaime Camil comedy “Las Pildoras de mi Novio” and “Como Es El,” with stars Omar Chaparro and Mauricio Ochmann facing off in a comedic bromance.