Vivendi-owned mobile-first TV and video service Studio+ has lofty goals.
On the one hand, it thinks it can help operators to acquire and retain customers, to generate new revenues and to provide differentiation in a Netflix-dominated world.
On the other, it thinks it has found a gap in the market when it comes to the type of content that people, notably millennials, are now looking for.
As we reported last year, Studio+ launched relatively quietly in April before making a pitch to telcos in September.
In short, the France-based company is offering content that has been filmed specifically for mobiles – thus far, 25 series each split up into 10 episodes last just 10 minutes each.
Encarna Marquez, General Manager of Studio+ International sums it up succinctly as “a production studio of short-form content and an app for mobile-first generation”.
She tells European Communications: “[Millennials] don’t have time to watch one hour series. They have 15-20 mins.
“That is our format. It can be consumed on the go, when you’re waiting for a bus etc.”
Each series, which is available in five languages, has been produced by Gilles Galud, Head of Creative Content at Studio+.
Galud’s fim credits include the 1994 short Vibroboy, which IMDb describes as being about “a superhero endowed with a phallic driller”.
Marquez, who alludes to Galud’s creative “flair”, is responsible for marketing, distribution, brand and communication.
She is determined to persuade telcos that it can help their content strategies.
The France-based company commissioned a survey in the US, which found that 48 percent of respondents said they’d be willing to upgrade their telco data subscription price if the Studio+ app was included.
Several have been persuaded by her arguments.
Telefónica began rolling out the service in Latin America last October but Marquez says it is too soon to discuss how it is performing.
Studio+ came to Europe in January after Bouygues Telecom launched the service.
Orange is set to be next with the service set to go live in April, while Telecom Italia – part-owned by Vivendi, it should be noted – is another operator that has taken the plunge.
At Mobile World Congress, VEON – the new name for VimpelCom – announced a a global distribution partnership using the operator’s new mobile internet platform.
Marquez says the business model is a revenue share.
But while Studio+ is “telco friendly” it is not exclusively wedded to them.
The service is being offered as an OTT product in certain markets but that it is “more expensive than how it is offered as part of telco bundle”.
She adds: “Telco distribution better for us – we can reach more customers more quickly.”
In his pitch to telcos last year, the Chairman of Vivendi Content bemoaned the fact that there was no European equivalent to Netflix.
But Marquez rejects the notion that Studio+ is aiming to fill that gap.
She says: Netflix is a service you consume in the home with your family.
“We are more suited to individuals.
“Also Netflix has thousands of titles, we have one per week.
“It is not the catalogue approach. It’s a new concept.”
Certainly, with an annual budget of €35 million, €25 million of which is dedicated to production, Studio+ is not going to challenge the likes of Netflix.
But could telcos, the very people Studio+ is looking to target, provide the biggest challenge to its success?
Telefónica announced in January that it planned to spend €70 million this year as part of a strategy to become the world’s leading provider of Spanish content.
“We have huge amount of expertise,” responds Marquez.
“Anyone can start producing content but…I don’t know if telcos have this type of expertise.”
If operators agree with Marquez, they will likely be eyeing the fortunes of Studio+ with great interest.