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Telefónica to launch Lat Am drama net

Movistar+ original period drama La Peste 

Spanish telco Telefónica is to launch a drama channel across Latin America called Movistar Series, with a dozen original series to air throughout 2018.

The network will offer original shows from Movistar’s existing slate and a selection of Lat Am productions through its Movistar TV and Movistar Play platforms.

The channel will become available in Chile, Colombia and Peru on February 15, and will be added to the Movistar offering in Argentina, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama and Uruguay over the next few months.

Alongside the 12 original shows, Spanish-language series produced by third parties, other Latin American series and movies and documentaries will also air.

La Peste (The Plague), created by Alberto Rodríguez and Rafael Cobos, will be the first Movistar+ original to premiere on Movistar Series in Lat Am, with others including Felix by Cesc Gay, Matar al Padre (Killing the Father) from filmmaker Mar Coll, and Enrique Urbizu’s Gigantes (Giants) to follow.

The move is part of Telefónica’s bid to expand its drama-focused operations, having committed €70m (US$75m) to original series in 2017.

The first show to emerge from that strategy, La Peste (6×50’), is billed as Telefónica’s flagship series and was made on a budget of €10m. It is set in Seville in the 16th century, during a bubonic plague epidemic.

Movistar+ president Sergio Oslé said the Lat Am channel move highlighted Telefónica’s “capabilities as a creator of original fiction content and its broad multiplatform scope.”

Michael Duncan, CEO of Telefónica’s Global Consumer Unit, added: “We will become a platform of platforms in Latin America, offering the best content in the market, but that will also have differential attributes that make our value proposal unique and distinguished by its quality.

“We believe there is enormous potential for a platform of quality content made in Spanish, and we want Movistar Series to become the benchmark channel for this content.”

Oslé added that the move would allow the channel’s series to reach the more than three million pay TV homes in Hispanic America and more than 110 million Movistar mobile clients in the region.

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