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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Netflix Expanding Global Mobile Strategy

Netflix is set launch mobile access in Spain next week as part of an existing deal with Telefónica, the Madrid-based multinational telecom. The SVOD pioneer and Telefónica rolled out a similar promotion in Brazil affording subscribers direct access to content.

The strategy is aimed at growing Netflix’s global subscriber count targeting the service’s least-used distribution channel: mobile. Indeed, 70% of Netflix programming is streamed through the television – a percentage that undermines the service’s attempt to create a larger global subscriber footprint in regions with heavy mobile platform use such as India.

In June, Netflix inked a deal with Vodafone affording the telecom’s Indian postpaid subs one year of free Netflix access. That promotion is aimed at telecom rival Airtel’s pact with Amazon Prime Video.

Netflix, which has similar Vodafone agreements in New Zealand and Australia, is currently offering one-year of free service to T-Mobile subscribers in the United States.

The promotions are part of a concerted effort to raise mobile streaming of Netflix content. In 2016 at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Netflix revealed 50% of its users accessed the service on their smartphone, yet only 10% actually streamed content.

“Behavior on mobile is different,” Scott Meyer, VP of Netflix’s device partner ecosystem, said at the time. “We’re just starting to learn about this.”

Flash forward two years and Netflix thinks subs are apparently willing to stream full-length feature films – not just TV shows – on their smartphone, according CCO Ted Sarandos.

Speaking Dec. 6 at Variety’s Dealmaker’s confab, Sarandos touted Netflix’s original feature film Roma as content subscribers would willingly access on their phone.

When questioned about the likelihood someone would actually stream director Alfonso Cuaron’s two-plus hour, black-and-white semi-autobiographical movie on a phone, Sarandos said his 22-year-old son, a film school student, does just that.

“He’s only seen Laurence of Arabia on his phone,” said Sarandos. “He thinks it’s one of the great movies of all time.”

Netflix screened Roma in select theaters exclusively to appease industry awards such as the Golden Globes and Oscars, but Sarandos is well-known for challenging the industry’s 90-day theatrical window, claiming more people would watch movies if offered concurrently via streaming channels.

“Most people see most movies that change their lives at home,” said Sarandos.

Netflix Enters Pact with Spain’s Largest Telecom

As expected, Netflix and Telefónica, Spain’s largest telecom, have inked an agreement enabling the SVOD pioneer to be embedded in the latter’s Movistar over-the-top video service in Europe and Latin America.

The first launches in several countries will be announced in the next few weeks and further launches will happen throughout the region in 2018.

The agreement is part of Telefónica’s plan to collaborate with top media and distribution companies around the world, according to the telecom’s president Álvarez-Pallete.

“We want to offer our customers the most compelling video offering possible, whether it’s our own content or third party providers,” he said. “The partnership with Netflix will significantly enhance our existing multichannel video platforms.”

Similar to other direct-access deals between pay-TV operators and Netflix, Telefónica embeds the SVOD app on its platform affording members with a Netflix account easier access to programming.

“Over the next several years, our partnership with Telefónica will benefit millions of consumers who will be able to easily access their favorite Netflix shows, documentaries, stand-ups, kids content and movies across a range of Telefónica platforms,” said Reed Hastings, co-founder and CEO of Netflix. “Making Netflix available on Telefónica’s familiar, easy-to-use TV and video platforms enables consumers to watch all the content they love in one place.”

Ericsson, Telefónica Partner for TV Everywhere

Ericsson has partnered with Telefónica to power the Spanish telecom’s TV Everywhere initiatives in Latin America.

As part of the three-year deal, Ericsson Media Solutions will deploy its video storage and processing platform technology to enable Telefonica to bow seven-day catch up and time-shift services for TV programing to subscribers in 13 countries in the region – including Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Peru.

TV Everywhere services have been long championed by pay-TV operators as an antidote to third-party over-the-top video competitors such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.

Angel Ruiz, CEO, Ericsson Media Solutions, said service providers today are faced with huge libraries of content and HD recordings that they need to efficiently deploy as part of complex time-shifted TV services.

“This deployment will enable Telefónica to transform its service delivery by virtualizing the storage and processing capabilities of its servers ensuring that catch-up and VOD services are delivered reliably … to subscribers all over Latin America,” Ruiz said.

The deal builds on the long-standing collaborative partnership between the companies, which has lasted for more than a decade, and has already seen Ericsson technology deployed by Telefónica in Peru. Telefónica has also deployed Ericsson Media Solutions services in Spain.

Earlier this year, Telefónica announced a subscription streaming agreement with Viacom in Latin America. The global deal represented a first for Viacom with a mobile carrier to carry all its international TV channels, as well as mobile streaming apps and VOD content.

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.