Orange to invest in French TV shows

French mobile operator and IPTV service provider Orange has inked content deals with UK and Australian producers and is putting together its first coproduction deal for French programming.

Last week the France Telecom-owned company announced the launch of Orange cinéma series, a package of five movie and TV series channels that would be carried online, on mobile and via IPTV and satellite. As part of that deal Orange unveiled five-year movie and TV series output deals with Warners, MGM and HBO.

The next stage is investing in and coproducing French content, Guillaume Jouhet, vice president of Orange cinéma series told TBIvision. He said: "We want to start coproducing French series, we want to make short and longform content."

Orange has also acquired some additional series from English-language producers. It has picked up comedy series Party Animals from BBC Worldwide and hard-hitting Screentime-produced Australian drama Underbelly.

Jouhet said that comedy is a key programming category for Orange and that he wants to add to the current line-up.

Hervé Payan, head of content partnerships and services for Orange France Telecom has outlined ambitious targets for the Orange cinéma series: "We have set our ambitions for the first year, we expect a few hundred thousand new subs by the end of 2009," he says. Orange has 1.4 million basic TV customers and has recently launched a new soccer channel, Orange Foot. It had attracted 50,000 customers a month after its August launch.

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