M7 Group eyes originals push as Canal+ synergies fuel local development

Planet Single

M7 Group is planning to ramp up original programming across its European footprint using the backing of owner Canal+ to develop shows, following its first original unveiled late last year.

The pay TV operator, which was acquired by Canal+ in 2019, teamed up with the French company’s Polish unit to co-produce a first joint series – Planet Single: Eight Stories – that as unveiled in December.

The romantic anthology is based on a Polish movie franchise with the same title and has been filmed against the background of European capitals Warsaw, Prague, Vienna and Amsterdam. It has been rolled out on M7 channels this year.

Hans Troelstra

Production focus

Hans Troelstra, CEO at M7 Group, told delegates here at NEM Dubrovnik that original production is the “next big thing” for his company as it looks to secure growth.

The company turns in revenues of over €400m ($447m) and offers satellite pay-TV, hybrid and OTT TV services in Belgium, the Netherlands, Austria, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Romania.

Troelstra added: “If you know who you are, who you want to attract and what to produce, it is sometimes easier to make your own shows [rather than acquire programming].

“Clearly we won’t make everything but it’s easier because you can tailor make programming for the audiences that you see. There always has to be something really local about it,” Troelstra said, pointing to Planet Single as a show that is “recognisable” to viewers across its footprint.

Similar shows are now in the works, Troelstra said, with development in the works with Canal+ teams, with the push for an “expanded” originals slate underlining the importance of local content.

It was a point reiterated by Tonko Weissmann, EVP of RTL Croatia, which was bought by CME Group in February, with the deal formally wrapped up last week.

“Local content is still the main thing, there will be synergy effects of course [with CME] but each market and country has its own specifics,” Weissman said.

The exec added that talent shortages continued to hamper the scaling up of originals, but he said that the acquisition by CME will power further programming that can travel borders.

“I’m confident we can produce something for Czech Republic or Slovenia and elsewhere, but first and foremost we will focus on our own country.” The execs were speaking on the second day of NEM Dubrovnik, which is taking place in Croatia this week.

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