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Telefónica invests in original content; Fox tops Italian media market

In this monthly Southern Europe video spotlight feature, S&P Global Market Intelligence provides a roundup of news related to over-the-top, video-on-demand and other online video initiatives in Spain, Italy, Portugal, Greece and Turkey.

TOP NEWS

* Telefónica SA plans to invest €70 million for original TV programs this year, European Communications reported Jan. 18. The operator's unit Movistar intends to develop four original series in 2017 and another 10 in 2018. One such project is the six-part thriller "La Peste," set in 16th Century bubonic plague-ridden Seville, and for which the company is investing €10 million.

* Italian communications watchdog AgCom named 21st Century Fox Inc. as the largest media entity in the country, having total revenues of €17.1 billion within the sector in 2015, Broadband TV News reported Jan 13. Fox reportedly cornered 15.4% of the Italian media market, via Sky plc unit Sky Italia SRL which had a 15.1% market share, and Fox Network Group Italy, which had a 0.3% market share.

OTHER NEWS

* Mediaset SpA said that it will focus on developing local and international content, innovative global partnerships, new online first content and a new over-the-top video-on-demand advertising platform, Rapid TV News reported Jan. 20, citing the company's financial analysis. The company will also offer its pay TV channels in Italy to third-party operators, and offer its premium platform to interested content creators.

* Due to increased viewership, Atresmedia extended its agreement with World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. that allows the Spanish broadcaster to continue to air shows "Raw" and "SmackDown," Rapid TV News reported Jan. 17.

* Turksat Satellite Comms & Cable/KabloTV will broadcast eight channels from SPI International/Filmbox Channels Group, including Funbox UHD, FilmBox Turkey, FilmBox Art House, FightBox, Fast&FunBox, DocuBox, 360 TuneBox and Gametoon, Broadband TV reported Jan. 16. The Turkish cable operator will also begin providing access to SPI's FilmBox Live app.

* Telefónica inked a strategic deal with eSports company ESL to develop a platform with exclusive content for digital channels, social media and the Movistar+ platform, according to a Jan. 10 news release. The deal will also see Movistar's sponsorship of ESL events in Spain, as well as the creation of Telefónica's own eSports club.

* Italian TV platform Tivùsat is now offering all HD channels from state broadcaster RAI, Advanced Television reported Jan. 5. Tivùsat offers more than 100 channels, 24 of which are in HD, and 33 radio stations.

* Pan-European sports network Eurosport SA bagged exclusive rights to broadcast Spain's indoor soccer league for the 2017-2019 period, Rapid TV News reported Jan. 4. Under the deal, the Eurosport 2 channel will air the Liga Nacional de Fútbol Sala games beginning in February. Eurosport is owned by Discovery Communications Inc.

* Netflix Inc. and Spanish broadcaster RTVE signed a streaming rights deal for time-travel-themed sci-fi series "The Department of Time," Variety reported Dec. 30. Netflix will get global streaming rights, outside Spain, to the series. Netflix subscribers will reportedly be able to stream the series after RTVE's core network La 1 broadcasts the season in Spain. The third season of the series, which was created by Javier and Pablo Olivares, is set to premiere in Spain in 2017.