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Orange, Mediapro Studio Team on Telco’s First Spanish Original Series (EXCLUSIVE)

MADRID —  Marking a milestone move in its drive into content creation, already seen in France, French telecom Orange is teaming with The Mediapro Studio on Orange’s first original scripted series in Spain, which will be aired on Orange TV.

Developed by Madrid-based 100 Balas (“Vota Juan”), owned by The Mediapro Studio, the still-to-be titled series is scheduled to shoot from this fall.

Described as a suspense thriller “with large doses of adrenalin and a young adult commercial target,” the series will count on an “a groundbreaking narrative structure, bulwarked by the use of new technologies” which will have “a standout presence from both  a visual and dramatic point of view,” Orange and The Mediapro Studio announced to Variety on Monday in a joint statement.

The series is created and penned by José Antonio Pérez Ledo, creator and director of RTVE’s “Orbita Laika” and “Escépticos,” aired on the Basque Country’s ETB, both science magazines, and an RTVE comedy sketch show “Ciudad K.”

“The proven experience of The Mediapro Studio in production makes it the best traveling companion we could have to initiate the first fiction project of our TV platform which enriches even more our great contents offer,” said José Antonio Guzmán, director of Orange TV.

100 Balas managing director Alejandro Flórez added: “It’s great news to add new partners to the production of contents in Spain that is enjoying a golden age of fiction with an international reach, which we’re delighted to form part of as a strategic partner.”

For The Mediapro Studio, the agreement with Orange “initiates a new phase of collaboration with this operator and is a further step forward in its consolidation as a leading production studio in national and international terms,” the joint statement read.

Launched this March, The Mediapro Studio houses all Mediapro’s content production and distribution operations with 34 scripted drama series in different phases of production in 2019. These span, of just U.S. companies, titles produced with HBO and Sky Italia, (“The New Pope”), HBO España (“Whatever”), Disney (“Cazadores de Milagros”), Fox (“Vis a Vis: El Oasis”), Sony (“Implacables – Mexico”), DirecTV (“Side Games”), Viacom Intl. Studios (“Noobees”), Turner Latin America (“Las Bravas” ), Vice (“Border Republic”) and Amazon Prime Video (“Caronte”).

Aimed to bolster Orange’s offer of mobile, TV and fiber optic network delivery, the last counting with 14.4 million clients in Spain on June 30, Orange’s first scripted original in Spain comes as, in distinct contrast to Vodafone in Spain, Orange has continued to air Spanish La Liga matches, seeing its subscriber base rise from 638,962 in second quarter 2018 to 716,113 six months later.

Orange’s first series now marks another significant commitment to premium content in an ever more competitive pay TV/OTT market.

In France, Orange’s OCS pay TV service is required to pre-buy French and European film. Under Stephane Richard, CEO since 2011, Orange has upped its content commitment step-by-step, producing half-hour TV series at OCS, and in 2017 creating Orange Content. Bowing a French theatrical distribution arrangement and launching an international sales division, Orange Studio has begun from 2017 to acquire, produce or co-produce high-end drama series.

Teaming with OCS, it revealed on the eve of this March’s Seriesmania four internationally-driven series projects as part of its commitment to step into premium original shows: “Cheyenne & Lola,” “The Opera,” “Les Sentinelles” and “Unpunished.”

In France, convergent services accounted for 40% of retail revenues and were their main growth driver, increasing 3.3 % year-on-year first half 2019, according to results announced on July 25. Orange now wants content to help drive its still burgeoning TV sub base in Spain, offering something for all the family.

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