Rodrigo Ros - 29/05/2015

Quality Scripted Content in Spanish, an Opportunity for Olympusat

Tom Mohler, CEO of Olympusat, explained to ttvnews the company's strategy regarding original productions in Latin America and US Hispanic, which will delve into the production of quality scripted series that stray from telenovelas. 

With its own channels, an OTT platform and an original production unit, Olympusat has been one of the leading companies at this year's LA Screenings. To learn more about its strategy, ttvnews spoke in Los Angeles with Tom Mohler, CEO of the company.

"Olympusat is a distributor, and owner of television networks and programming. So we distribute linear television channels but also individual programs on VOD," said Mohler about his company.

In fact, Olympusat is the parent of OTT platform Vemox, which combines linear networks with VOD content that's specifically tailored for US Hispanic audiences.

"Vemox came about really from frustration about the lack of penetration of Hispanic content in the US. So, right now in pay-tv bundles in Spanish penetrate about 19% of Spanish dominant homes," explained the executive.

"So I wanted to create an OTT platform which will go along with other OTT platforms for Spanish TV, so that we can reach out this disfranchised Spanish speakers, not only in the US, but across Latin America," he added.

Currently, Vemox has 60 linear networks which are offered in a VOD modality, a combination that according to Mohler works well given the type of content sought by Hispanics.

"If you are from the Dominican Republic you want to watch channels that reflect what's going on, with new and information from our country, and that kind of content is better suited for live TV, not VOD," he said.

Launched in 2015, the platform has not stopped growing since then. According to Mohler, during this second half of the year, and the first half of 2019, Vemox will be at the front of an even more accelerated growth.

"So we launched Vemox last year on Amazon Fire, we are launching a new version over the next months with a mobile operator. We are launching with other broadband providers and another companies. Our true growth is going to be in the last part of this year and 2019," he assured.

Original Productions

And within Vemox's offering, Olympusat has several of its own channels that showcase the company's original productions, including the production of films under different models.

"We do a lot of movies every month; they tend to be in the mid-to-lower range budget. We are doing some high budget movies, we have done some theatrical releases and we have participated in movies in Mexico," he detailed.

"In terms of series we are doing right now three series: we have three series in production right now including La hacienda del Rey in Mexico," he added. This show, he explained, will come as a 12 episode premium series about a man who is separated from his family and recruited by a cartel.

"This is a higher budget series, more like an American style format. We certainly do not want to produce telenovelas, because we want to raise the quality of our series in Spanish," he claimed.

According to the executive, it is in this arena where Olympusat has found a great opportunity: last year, not including telenovelas, there were just 35 scripted series produced in Latin America, according to data from the company. In the US, on the other hand, the figure reached 500.

"Clearly there's a huge opportunity for us and other companies who have the means to create good scripted series in Spanish that are not telenovelas," he insisted.

To produce these series, Olympusat is currently looking for co-production partners in the market. "We are talking to every company, every major company and smaller companies, about potential co-productions. We are open to any kind of coproduction partnership because right now the industry is at a time where you have to cooperate with other, it makes sense," he concluded.

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