MADRID - Telefonica, a test case for telecom diversification into TV, has consolidated growth in 2016, posting operating profits of €15.118 billion ($15.95 billion), up 14.3% on 2015.Part of that growth, moreover, has come from TV as Telefonica’s quad-play Fusion offer of fixed telephony, TV, mobile and Internet proves a growth driver in Spain, one of Telefonica’s big core markets.Acquiring Spain’s biggest - but stagnating - premium pay-TV operator Digital Plus in 2014, Telefonica’s drive into TV continues to show...
A Twitter enthusiast, techno geek, marathon runner and family man, Alvarez-Pallete, Telefonica COO from 2012 and chairman-CEO from April 2016, has put through a content revolution at Telefonica. Acquiring Spain’s biggest premium pay TV operator Canal Plus in 2014, then packaging pay TV via Movistar Plus with fibre optic delivery, Telefonica drove total pay TV clients in Spain to 5.84 million by June 30; 3.72 million subscribed to Movistar Plus.
Pushing SVOD entertainment, Movistar Plus has become Spain’s biggest buyer of U.S. series. Launched in 2015, it’s in-the-works original series production, often with top movie directors, represents a craved-for injection of new capital into Spain’s cash-starved film industry.
Alvarez-Pallete won his Telefonica spurs spearheading its international expansion in Latin America from 2009 and Europe from 2011. His predecessor, Cesar Alierta, called him “the best prepared senior executive to position Telefonica in the vanguard, this time of the digital sector.” 2016 proved, however, an annus horribilis. Plans to reduce Telefonica debt were thwarted by regulators blocking its sale of O2 UK. A mooted float of Telxius, its masts and cable business was pulled after low demand. Now paying a whopping 1 million a year for soccer rights, one large question is how much energy or money Alvarez-Pallete can throw at other contents in Spain or Latin America or taking the digital revolution to its next level.