Movistar Plus Restructures for Full-On Studio Streamer Age

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Telco giant Telefonica’s Movistar Plus, Spain’s biggest pay TV player, is putting through a major restructuring, aimed at capitalizing on its Spanish market preeminence in an age of full-on global studio streamer dominance.

Key to the Movistar Plus reset is the creation of two new strategic divisions: Alliances and Content Experience. Alliances will see Movistar Plus seeking to tie down even more strategic partnerships in carriage deals and production with what a company statement on Friday called, “the most relevant partners in the sector,” citing integration on Movistar Plus’ platform of Disney Plus, Netflix, DAZN and Spanish platforms Atresmedia OTT operator Atresplayer and Mediaset España’s Mitele.

With HBO carried by Vodafone, the most obvious candidate for further aggregation would look to be Amazon Prime Video.

Movistar Plus looks likely, moreover, to continue to pursue strategic alliances in international production where, under Movistar Plus president Sergio Oslé, the company has tied down a multiyear agreement with Telemundo, and is co-producing its banner 2021 series – Alejandro Amenábar’s La Fortuna and Leticia Dolera’s “Perfect Life Season 2” – with AMC Studios and HBO Max respectively. Such alliances allow Movistar Plus to scale up productions. They also give its series key territory distribution in the U.S. and beyond an invaluable creative and commercial insight, Oslé has always argued.

In top management, Cristina Burzaka remains Movistar Plus CEO, having been appointed in Feb. 2021 to take over day-to-day management of Movistar Plus as Sergio Oslé, while remaining Movistar Plus president, was promoted to CEO of Telefonica Spain. Burzaka will have a special oversight over Movistar Plus’ three content divisions, original fiction, still headed by Domingo Corral; sports, led by Ignacio Fernández Vega, and entertainment, overseen by Juan Andrés García Ropero, “Bropi.”

Telefonica’s continued bet on “an original and exclusive content which reinforces Movistar Plus differentiation” is an implicit thumbs-up for Corral, who has bet on a strong line in upscale series focused closely on Spanish realities, often with a social issue undertow, and made by Spain’s most courted film and TV auteurs from Rodrigo Sorogoyen, whose “Riot Police” was one of Spain standout series in 2021, to “Money Heist” creators Alex Pina and Esther Martínez Lobato with “The Pier.”

Veteran Alex Martínez-Roig, one of Spain’s best known pay TV executives, is stepping down as director of Movistar Plus contents but will remain associated with Movistar Plus as an advisor to CEO Burzaka.

“Telefonica wants to highlight the importance and the relevance they have as a ‘super aggregator’ selecting carefully the streaming video services they want to add to the platform, investing in exclusive content via their own originals or acquisition deals, and making sure they create the best bundles an packages for their users,” said María Rua Aguete, senior research director at Omdia.

Movistar Plus aims for “a platform where clients find everything they want in the easiest of ways, becoming a facilitator which offers a unique and personalized experience integrating our partners and our own content,” Burzaka said.

“We are powering up critical areas in a constant adaptation to a world and sector which don’t stop transforming,” she added.

The former Telefonica Spain Marketing and Brand Director, Burzaka reports to Sergio Oslé, who remains Movistar Plus president but was promoted to CEO of Telefonica Spain in February 2021.

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