Spain’s leading pay-TV group Sogecable, owner of pay channel Canal+ and digital satellite platform Canal Satelit Digital, has announced plans to launch a TV production arm called Tele Plus in January. Focusing on live-action fiction series, made-for-TV movies and animated series, Tele Plus will be modeled after U.S. mediaco HBO, which attracted more subscribers once it realized that cinema alone was not enough of a draw and started producing its own TV series and films.
Animation output will be a key focus of the new unit, which is aiming to produce toons primarily for Canal+, which currently offers four hours of kids fare a week (10.5 during holidays), all of which is acquired. This translates into between 100 and 125 hours of pick-ups a year, coming from companies like Warner Bros., Columbia TriStar, Nelvana and the Jim Henson Company. Of these acquisitions, around 80% are animated, a category to which the company dedicates 85% of its children’s budget. In addition to Canal+, Tele Plus is also hoping to sell its animated product to the four digital channels housed under Canal Satelite Digital (Fox Kids, Cartoon Network, Disney Channel and Nickelodeon).
Still working out the logistics of setting up shop, Tele Plus has not announced which toon projects it will develop first. Canal+ managing director Jose Manuel Lorenzo is guiding the project through the initial launch phase.