Vodafone Objects to Disney+ Telefónica Pact

The day after Spain’s telecom giant Telefónica and Disney announced an exclusive distribution deal for subscription streaming video service Disney+ through the former’s Movistar subsidiary, U.K.-based mobile carrier Vodafone is crying foul.

Disney+ streaming service is set to launch in select European countries on March 24.

Spanish daily El Espanol reports Vodafone sent a letter to the National Commission of Markets and Competition (CNMC) alleging the Disney/Telefónica deal amounts to “covert exclusivity” creating obstacles in its separate negotiation with Disney. An agreement Vodafone said “seemed closed” a few weeks ago.

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For Vodafone, which has seen its market share in Spain drop from 33% to less than 20% last year, according to Statista, securing a Disney+ distribution deal is key.

Vodafone claims the Telefónica and Disney deal “goes against its position as a dominant operator” and makes it difficult for other operators, including France’s Orange, to access Disney content within the legal framework established by the CNMC.

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Specifically, the government established regulation aimed at preventing companies with majority market share from using their clout to prevent competitors from negotiating for third-party content such as sports, movies and TV shows.

Vodafone cited similar government action when Movistar attempted shut out competitors securing exclusive rights to La Liga soccer, a move nixed by regulators.

Vodafone, according to El Espanol, contends that if CNMC does not intercede in the Disney+ agreement, “it would be accepting a fraud in the spirit of the [regulations].”

 

Telefónica to Distribute Disney+ Streaming Service in Spain

Ahead of its March 24 launch in Europe, Disney+ has inked distribution in Spain with multiplatform operator Telefónica. The Spanish distributor’s Movistar subsidiary and over-the-top video platform Movistar+ will distribute Disney+ in the region.

Disney’s branded subscription streaming video platform, which launched Nov. 12, 2019, in the United States, has more than 26 million subscribers. The service was initially set to launch across parts of Europe on March 31. That date was moved up a week across the U.K., Ireland, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Austria, and Switzerland.

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The service, which offers Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, National Geographic, in addition to original content, features more than 25 exclusives, 500 movies and 300 series.

We’re delighted to have Telefónica on board for the launch of Disney+,” Jan Koeppen, president, The Walt Disney Company EMEA, said in a statement. “This marks an exciting new era of entertainment featuring premium content across our portfolio of brands, and we can’t wait for Movistar customers to experience it.”

Movistar, which is Spain’s largest telecom with more than 22 million subscribers, last year inked a partnership with Netflix.

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Viacom Inks Streaming Deal with Spain’s Telefónica — in Latin America

Media giant Viacom Feb. 5 announced a subscription streaming agreement with Spanish telecom Telefónica for Latin America.

The global deal represents a first for Viacom with a mobile carrier to carry all its international TV channels, as well as mobile streaming apps and VOD content.

Under the terms of the deal, video streams from Viacom subsidiaries MTV, Nickelodeon, Nick Jr., Comedy Central and Paramount will be available in the second half of the year on Movistar Play.

In addition, Viacom apps MTV Play, Nickelodeon Play, Comedy Central Play and Noggin will be available, with a range of content from the company’s brands that will be accessible on-demand.

The over-the-top agreement supplements an existing carriage deal for Viacom’s linear channels and VOD content already available on Telefónica’s pay TV services throughout the region.

“Mobile streaming is growing in popularity across Latin America – to stay in touch with our young audiences we need our brands and content to be everywhere they are,” Rita Herring, SVP, content distribution, Viacom’s Americas division, said in a statement.

 

Netflix Expanding Spanish Pay-TV Access with Telefónica

Netflix reportedly is about to sign a distribution agreement with Spanish telecommunications giant Telefónica.

Under terms of the deal – which hasn’t been publicly disclosed – Telefónica would offer full access (i.e. content integration) to Netflix on its Movistar pay-TV service, which has 3.7 million subscribers, according to Reuters.

By comparison, Netflix’s pay-TV deals with France’s Orange and Vodafone in the United Kingdom enable subscribers direct access to the SVOD pioneer.

Telefónica has operations in almost 20 countries outside Spain, and is the fourth-largest company globally, according to Forbes.

Moviestar, which recently launched original series, “The Plague” to record viewership for a Spanish telecom, has already taken a page from the Netflix playbook enabling subscribers access to all episodes at launch.

Indeed, 20% of viewers binged-streamed the entire series in the first four days, according to Variety.

Netflix has more than 1.1 million subs in Spain – low by European standards.