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In budget, and even maybe cinematographic values, the weightiest world premiere at this year’s San Sebastian Festival, the biggest movie event in the Spanish-speaking world, will be a TV drama: Movistar Plus’ “Gigantes,” a brutal Madrid crime family saga.
Another Movistar+ original series, Paco Leon’s “Arde Madrid,” a comedy shot in black-and-white about the antics and tribulations of Ava Gardner’s domestic staff in 1961 Madrid, has potential as a crowd-pleaser.
Pay-TV - Operator - Content - Rivals - Gigantes
The premium pay-TV operator is seeking to create content that will set it apart from rivals, and “Gigantes” and “Arde Madrid,” its ninth and 10th original series, form part of the most muscular drive into premium TV production by any of Europe’s big telecoms.
Movistar + parent Telefonica, Europe’s second biggest telecom, whose 2017 revenues totaled €50 billion ($60 billion).
Drive - Results - Spain - Movistar - +
The content drive is now showing its first results, not only in Spain but also abroad, where Movistar + cut its first banner deals.
In the U.S., Starz has acquired “La Zona,” a murder mystery set against a nuclear plant meltdown, in one of the earliest deals by a U.S. premium cable operator on a Spanish series; Beta Film is selling the series for Movistar Plus. “La Zona” has also sold to France’s Canal Plus, and German public broadcaster ZDF.
UK - BBC4 - Plague - Saturday - Night
The U.K.’s upscale BBC4 began broadcasting “The Plague” in Saturday night primetime on Sept. 1. Directed by Alberto Rodriguez (“Marshland”) and set in a dazzling 1580 Seville, the historical serial killer thriller — Movistar Plus’ biggest-budgeted series to date, costing a first-season $11.7 million — has also been acquired by Sky Deutschland. Viasat World has licensed rights across the U.S., Europe and Africa on “The Plague.”
Meanwhile, public broadcaster RAI has picked up Italy rights on fashion house melodrama “Velvet Collection,” Movistar Plus’ first series, released last September; Netflix has acquired rights to most of the rest...
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