Liberty’s Telenet moves into original content

Telenet shop_leuven_58Days ahead of Netflix’s Belgian launch, Liberty-backed cabler Telenet has unveiled plans for its first original scripted series.

Chaussée d’Amour (The Strip of Love) will be a ten-part series made with local prodco deMensen. All episodes of the show will be released simultaneously, the release pattern pioneered by Netflix, on Telenet’s Rio and Rex premium services.

The series will be directed by Nathalie Bastyns and production will get underway next year ahead of delivery in 2016. It will follows Sylvia, an upstanding single mother who ends up running a brothel. Concurrently there is a murder investigation taking place along the same strip as the brothel with the investigating detective and Sylvia’s paths becoming increasingly interlinked.

In late 2012, the Flemish cable company said it would put €30 million into local programming over a four-year period. Under the Telenet Stimulus for Audiovisual Productions inFlanders (STAP) initiative. “This will make it possible to realise a number of new productions every year that would otherwise not have materialized,” it said at the time.

Today, Telenet said Chaussée d’Amour will be the first premium drama out of the Flemish region. The cabler said it is talking to free-TV channels about them taking a window on the show and transmitting it after it has debuted on Rex and Rio.

“Telenet opted to produce its own series because, in this way, the company can introduce its viewers to new ways of watching fiction,” it said. “The ten episodes will all be available at the same time: once again an all-timefirst for a Flemish series.”

Inge Smidts, senior VP, residential marketing added: “By investing ourselves, an additional, high-quality Flemish series can be produced, and we are given the opportunity to offer this to our customers in a completely new way, so that we can better meet their expectations”.

Telenet also noted that it has invested in over 20 films to date under the STAP programme.

Separately, Telenet has renewed its content deal with HBO until 2018.

The deal gives Telenet exclusive rights to HBO content in Flanders, which the cable company markets under the ‘Home of HBO’ banner on its service.

As well as access to new HBO series within a week of their US transmission, the deal covers library HBO titles including The Sopranos and Generation Kill, which it will offer as ‘box-sets’ on the Rex and Rio premium packages and TV Everywhere service.

The agreement also covers new titles from HBO’s sister channel Cinemax. Telenet said it can also choose one catalogue title from Cinemax.