Orange colors slate with BBC's 'Party Animals'

'Looking to buy from everyone,' cinema series chief says

CANNES -- France Telecom subsidiary Orange is continuing its global cinema celebration with an exclusive distribution deal for the BBC series "Party Animals," Orange said Tuesday.

Orange also snagged Australian miniseries "Underbelly" from the Nine Network for its subscription-based, multiplatform Orange Cinema series set to launch in Gaul on Nov. 13.

Orange signed an exclusive output deal with HBO this year, but plans to expand its library in the coming months, with several exclusive output and distribution deals in negotiations.

"We're not only HBO in France. We're looking to buy from everyone," head of Orange Cinema Series Guillaume Jouhet said in an interview.

Orange's priority is to invest in Gallic audiovisual production, starting with 6- to 10-minute shorter formats, and the group also hopes to expand to international co-productions with indie producers stateside.

Orange signed with U.S. major Warner Bros. this year, and inked a new deal with MGM just weeks ago, but "we're not in a rush to sign other U.S. studios," Orange's Head of Content Herve Payan said in an interview.

The paid five-channel Orange cinema series has posed a threat to pay TV group Canal Plus, which has a monopoly over the subscription TV industry in the territory, yet Orange doesn't see its new offer as directly competitive with Canal Plus. "We want to have a complementary position with Canal Plus," Payan said.

He added: "There's room for two."

Orange will launch its new offer as planned on Nov. 13, despite rumors that arguments between the country's film organizations and France Telecom over how much money the telecom should invest in national production would delay the launch.