HBO Max No. 3 SVOD in Spain Since Launching in October

WarnerMedia in late October launched the HBO Max subscription streaming service in Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Spain and Andorra as part of a broader European rollout in 2022.

One month later, Max is reportedly the No. 3 SVOD service in Spain with nearly 5% market penetration, according to published data from Smartme Analytics. The replacement to HBO España, Max passed Disney+, which has 4.3% market penetration since its European launch in March 2020.

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Assisting Max’s rollout: A 50% price cut on the standard €8.99 ($10.40) monthly fee through Nov. 30 for the lifetime of the subscription, unless canceled.

Spain’s SVOD market leader continues to be Netflix with 20.7% market share, followed by Amazon Prime Video with 8.7% share.

HBO Max Launches Service in The Nordics, Spain — at Half Price

WarnerMedia’s branded subscription streaming service HBO Max officially launched service today (Oct. 26) in the Nordics (Finland, Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Iceland) and Spain. The debut is part of a 27-territory rollout in Europe through 2022.

As part of the rollout, all new subscribers through Nov. 30 will get 50% off the standard monthly price for the lifetime of their subscription. In Spain and Finland, for example, this means new subs pay €4.49 ($5.21) a month. This is in addition to the already announced annual subscription, which cuts the standard monthly fee 30% to $7.35.

HBO and HBO Max ended the most-recent fiscal period with almost 70 million global subs.

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Max Originals coming to HBO Max in Europe in the run up until Christmas include the reboot of “Gossip Girl,” the next chapter of “Sex in the City” with “And Just Like That …,” and Mindy Kaling’s “The Sex Lives of College Girls.” New European productions include the award-winning Danish drama “Kamikaze,” the second season of Norwegian hit “Beforeigners,” and the return of Juan Carrasco in “Venga Juan” and “Dafne and the Rest.”

Top movies coming to Max in the Nordics on launch day include Reminiscence, The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, Godzilla vs. Kong and Mortal Kombat. Warner Bros. movies premiere on Max 45 days after their theatrical release starting this year in the Nordics and next year in Spain, Portugal, Netherlands, Greece, Iceland and Central and Eastern Europe, including the Baltic nations.

“With the launch in Europe today, Max is now available in 46 territories globally,” Johannes Larcher, head of HBO Max International, said in a statement. “This is an important milestone as we continue to deliver on our ambition to roll out Max around the world with more territories to come in Europe and Asia next year.”

Max will be available to watch on leading devices and platforms, including smart-TVs (Samsung, LG and Android TV), via streaming devices (Apple TV 4K and Google Chromecast), game consoles (PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S) mobile and tablets (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch and Android), and online at www.HBOMax.com. HBO Max will also be available through selected TV distribution partners. Customers will be able to pay via major providers (Visa, Mastercard and PayPal) and via in-app purchase (Apple App Store and Google Play Store).

HBO Max offers up to five viewer profiles, three concurrent streams and no limit on devices per subscription. Select titles are available in 4K, 5.1 Sound and Dolby Atmos.

Netflix Doubles Madrid, Spain Production Facilities

Netflix continues to boost its commitment to Spanish original content production by expanding its studio space in Tres Cantos (Madrid). This hub, opened two years ago, will have double the amount of sets (10 versus five) and will add new post-production facilities.

The hub will also have, among other new features, enhanced filming and editing rooms incorporating the latest innovation and technology. This extension should be completed by late 2022.

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“We are proud to keep strengthening our commitment to Spain. With the new additions, creators will count with the latest tools to keep telling great stories made in Spain,” Diego Ávalos, VP of original content at Netflix Spain, said in a statement. “We will continue to work on fully supporting the sustainable development of Spanish audiovisual productions, in all their diversity.”

Since its arrival in 2015, Netflix has released more than 50 titles made in Spain. These generated more than 7,500 jobs for cast and crew, as well as 41,000 days of work for extras in productions filmed all over the country. This year’s current productions (in different stages) are expected to hire over 1,500 professionals and create over 21,000 days of work for extras.

As part of its goal to support the diversity of stories and formats, Netflix recently revealed its pending made-in-Spain productions. The streamer will also be bringing three Spanish novels to our screensUn cuento perfecto, by Elisabet Benavent, that questions self-expectations as the way to happiness; La chica de nieve by Javier Castillo, the great thriller phenomenon; and Hijas del Camino by Lucía-Asué Mbomío, a ground-breaking debut about identity, family ties and the fight against racism.

Analyst: Spain to Top 20 Million OTT Video Subs by Next Year — Driven by Netflix

Spain is quietly emerging as a major market for over-the-top video distribution, driven by Netflix, HBO España and Amazon Studios. New data from eMarketer suggests the country will top 20 million OTT subs next year — or about 40.1% of the country’s population.

Indeed, Netflix began producing original content in Spain in 2016 and opened its first European production hub in Madrid in spring of 2019. A trend replicated by ViacomCBS and Spain-based broadcaster Astresmedia and telecom giants Orange and Telefónica — the latter via its streaming video service Movistar.

Though Netflix will boast the largest user base in Spain, its 70% market share of subscription OTT video subs is actually lower than in other major markets. In Germany, Netflix claims 77.1% of the SVOD market, and 80% in Denmark, France, and the U.K. The report suggests a wider variety of SVOD services in Spain undermines Netflix’s domination.

“[Subscriber] growth should slow down in H2 2020, so Netflix must continue to work hard and fend off competition from emerging platforms like Disney+, HBO Max, and even Amazon Prime Video,” Matteo Ceurvels, eMarketer research analyst covering Latin America and Spain at Insider Intelligence, said in a statement. “Though competition abounds, we still view the subscription OTT landscape as a story of ‘Netflix versus the rest.'”

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AMC Networks Bows First International VOD Access in Spain

“AMC Selekt,” AMC Networks’ upstart video-on-demand service, launched its first international operations in Spain.

The service will be added to France’s Orange TV at no additional cost. As a result of this first-time agreement, Orange TV platform subscribers can watch more than 5,000 programs throughout the year, in a wide variety of genres including films, series, documentaries, lifestyle, children’s content and music.

AMC Selekt content ranges from AMC Networks, Canal Hollywood, SundanceTV, Dark, XTRM, Odisea, Canal Cocina, Canal Decasa, Canal Panda and Sol Música.

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“AMC Selekt … is the largest channel network library available in Spain and, more importantly, the most diverse,” Manuel Balsera, EVP and managing director of AMCNISE, said in a statement. “We are delighted that AMC Selekt is debuting with Orange TV, which is one of our main distribution partners in the market.”

Subscribers will have access to series such as “Dispatches from Elsewhere,” “Das Boot,” “Wisting,” “Bordertown” and “This Close,” among others. Movies include The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, Meet the Parents, Super 8 and The Addams Family; and documentaries on technology, nature and current events such as “The Harvey Weinstein Scandal,” “A Samurai at the Vatican” and “Antarctic Expedition.”

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In-house productions include culinary programs “Let’s Taste the World” and “Julius’ 22 Minutes,” home decoration and fashion shows “A Touch of Chus” and “Customize Your House”. The offer also includes music concerts by Vetusta Morla, Alice Wonder and Nunatak and children’s content such as “Masha and the Bear” and “Panda Kitchen.”

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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Spain Lawmakers Seeking 8% Tax on Foreign OTT Video Services

Lawmakers in Spain are looking to impose an 8% tax on over-the-top video services operating in the country, including Netflix, HBO, Amazon Prime Video, Sky Now and DAZN.

The so-called RTVE (Radio Television Espanola) tax is aimed at funding Spain’s ad-free public broadcaster, which has been undermined in recent years by plummeting advertising sales among commercial broadcasters, who contribute about 1.5% of their revenue to RTVE’s budget.

The proposed tax is incorporated in the Audiovisual Media Services Directive, which aims to level the playing among broadcasters such as Atresmedia and Mediaset, pay-TV operators/telecoms (Movistar, Telefónica España, Orange and Vodafone) and now OTT video.

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The updated law would impose a 5% tariff on in-state SVOD revenue earmarked toward domestic film production, and another 3% directed toward RTVE.

According to Spanish media site El Español, the tax would apply to revenue generated by an OTT service’s Spanish subscribers. As a result, HBO would be charged a percentage of the revenue generated by its 475,000 Spanish subs, instead of the company’s reported revenue based on the location of its tax-incentivized fiscal headquarters.

The tax  could become law by the end of the year.

Separately, local and national governments worldwide continue to search for ways to tap into the lucrative OTT landscape — with varying degrees of success.

Georgia lawmakers in February backed away from imposing a 4% tax on subscription streaming video services. The tax is still on the table for music services, video games and e-books.

“People didn’t like what has become known as the Netflix tax, so we took that off,” Rep. Bill Werkheiser told the media. “The effort initially was to help fund broadband. It won’t do that without the Netflix or streaming services tax.”

Netflix Spain Raises Prices

Netflix is continuing to roll out price hikes across Western Europe with Spain reportedly the latest country to see a €2 monthly increase to €12.99 ($14.80) from €10.99 ($12.52).

Netflix previously raised prices in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

Netflix Spain also upped the fee for Ultra-HD on up to four devices to €15.99 ($18.22) from €13.99 ($15.94). The basic plan remains unchanged at €7.99 ($9.11) per month.

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Netflix in January raised by $2 its most-popular plan in the U.S. to $12.99 from $10.99. The basic $7.99 non-HD plan increased to $8.99, while the premium plan allowing four simultaneous 4K streams increase to $15.99 per month from $13.99.

Comcast Cuts Spain’s Llega Sky SVOD Pricing 31%

Llega Sky, the British satellite operator’s nascent streaming video service in Spain, is cutting the monthly subscription price 31% to €6.99 from €9.99.

Launched in September 2017, Llega Sky offered TV series and on-demand movies from around the world in Spanish, predominantly in HD.

Despite including 12 popular pay TV channels, combined with access to TV shows “The Walking Dead,” “Big Bang Theory” and Grey’s Anatomy,” and hundreds of movies, the service has struggled to resonate with consumers.

Llega Sky reportedly has generated just 114,000 paying subscribers – significantly behind market leader Netflix with 2 million, HBO (475,000) and Rakuten (147,000).

The move follows Hulu’s decision in the United States to reduce the basic subscription plan (with advertising) to $5.99 from $7.99. The SVOD service recently disclosed it had topped 25 million subscribers, which includes online TV platform, Hulu with Live TV.

Sky’s corporate parent Comcast last week revealed it plans to expand over-the-top video platform Now TV platform across Europe.

Now TV offers monthly entertainment packages targeting movies (Sky Cinema), general entertainment, Premier League soccer (Sky Sports), children’s programming (Sky Kids) and reality TV-based Hayu – which is owned by NBC Universal and available in the U.K., Ireland, Australia, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Canada, Holland, Belgium and Luxembourg.