In a sign of the growing convergence to be expected between Vivendi’s film and TV giant StudioCanal and Spanish telco Telefonica, the two companies have agreed on a major content deal for Section Zero, The Five and Spotless. Telefonica has picked up pay TV and SVOD rights for Spain, as well as renewing its licensing deal for medieval epic The Pillars of the Earth, which was produced and distributed by Tandem Communications. Tandem is, of course, now owned by StudioCanal and was rebranded as per its parent.
StudioCanal’s owner enjoys a strategic relationships with Telefonica. Last year, Vivendi divested its Brazilian telco GVT to Telefonica, allowing it in turn to become the leading shareholder in Telecom Italia, in which Telefonica previously had been a significant shareholder. The ability to leverage those assets, particularly in terms of offering consumers quad-play services across the UK, France, Germany and now Spain and Italy, would give Vivendi a formidable platform with which to take on Netflix and other OTT disrupters in Europe.
Section Zero is an eight-part sci-fi thriller series from César-nominated writer and director Olivier Marchal (Braquo), produced by Europacorp Television, Bad Company and Umedia. Set in the near future, where multi-national corporations are Europe’s new leaders, the CANAL+ Création Originale series stars Ola Rapace (Skyfall), Pascal Greggory (La Vie en Rose), and Tchéky Karyo (The Missing) and has recently sold to Russia’s Channel One and SBS in Australia. Section Zero will launch July 6 on Telefonica.
Harlan Coben’s The Five, an original 10-part drama thriller series for television by the nine-time No. 1 New York Times bestselling author, is produced by Brit production banner RED (Happy Valley), in which StudioCanal is a significant shareholder. An original commission for the UK’s Sky 1, the series stars Tom Cullen (Downton Abbey). The screenplay is by BAFTA and Emmy winning writer Danny Brocklehurst and directed by Mark Tonderai. The series has aired on CANAL+, Israel’s Yes DBS, the Netherlands’ NPO, New Zealand’s SKY and will air on Australia’s SBS 1 during the 3rd quarter 2016. The Five will launch on Telefonica this summer.
Spotless is produced by Tandem and co-created by Ed McCardie (Shameless) and Corinne Marrinan. The series most recently wrapped its run in the U.S. on NBCUni Cable’s Esquire Network and France’s CANAL+. Currently airing on TVA’s addikTV in French-speaking Canada, the series has been outperforming the channel average by more than 300%. It has been sold to over 200 territories, including Globosat Brazil, DIRECTV Latin America, SBS Australia and M-Net South Africa. SPOTLESS will launch on Telefonica in August.
The Pillars of the Earth stars Eddie Redmayne, Donald Sutherland and Ian McShane. Adapted from the novel by Ken Follett, it has aired in over 160 countries worldwide.