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Telefónica ‘looking to launch’ international OTT TV service

Telefonica buildingTelefónica is mulling the launch of a Netflix-like OTT TV service to target an international audience, according to a report in El País newspaper.

According to El País, citing unnamed sources, Telefónica is looking at taking its content to subscribers in countries such as the UK and Germany where its Movistar+ pay TV service is not available.

The group is looking at offering a streaming SVOD service similar to Netflix or HBO Now, providing unlimited access to content at a competitive price. The service could be provided direct-to-consumer or via agreements with service providers, according to the paper’s sources.

Telefónica has existing operations in the UK and Germany that it could use to test out the concept.

The service and would only be available in Europe and would be populated with Movistar’s own productions – principally, though not exclusively, those being made in Spain. The project would however be developed by Telefónica as a global entity rather than its Spanish unit, and could include content created by its Latin American subsidiaries, such as shows and series being developed in Peru.

José María Álvarez-Pallete

José María Álvarez-Pallete

Spain itself has seen an explosion in OTT TV services in the last couple of years, beginning with the launch of Netflix, followed by HBO España and Amazon Prime Video at the end of last year.

More recently, Sky has announced plans to launch its own Sky España OTT offering, while AMC is planning to launch a streaming service in partnership with pay TV operators.

Telefónica’s executive chairman, José María Álvarez-Pallete López, told analysts at the company’s most recent quarterly results presentation that Netflix was not causing any “major shift in the evolution of [Telefónica’s] customer base” and said that the telco now had a “significantly better catalogue” than any OTT player in the market.

Telefónica has invested heavily in new original series, including La Peste and Velvet Colección, and plans to introduce owe new series a month on its domestic platform from next monthly. Flagship channel Canal #0 carries over five hours a day of the company’s own-produced material.

In January, Telefónica España CEO Luis Miguel Gilpérez said that the telco aimed to be the biggest producer of original TV content in Spanish globally and that original TV content – combined with connectivity – will be key to driving the next phase of growth in the pay TV market.