Orange takes wraps off Cinema Series

Unveils multiplatform, personalized, interactive service

PARIS -- French telecom Orange is ringing in the fall season with the Nov. 13 launch of its subscription-based multiplatform Orange Cinema Series, the company said Wednesday in Paris.

After signing exclusive content deals with Warner Bros., HBO, MGM, Gaumont, Wild Side Films, BAC Films and Fidelite Film earlier this year, Orange will offer the personalized, interactive service to subscribers for 12 euros ($16.40) a month.

More than 1,200 movies, 1,000 hours of TV, 200 documentaries and 300 children's series per year and at least 75 exclusive new titles per month will be available for multilanguage viewing on TV, PC and mobile formats.

Orange Cinema Series' five channels will air Hollywood blockbusters in HD (Orange cinemax), family-friendly programming (cinehappy), action films (cinechoc), independent titles (cinenovo) and classic movies (cinegeants) in addition to weekly film-focused magazines.

All programs will be available on demand for up to one month after their original air dates. Orange hopes to challenge rival pay TV group Canal Plus with "hundreds of thousands of subscribers" by the end of the year, head of Orange's content division Xavier Couture said.

"This was an economically interesting proposition for us. We wanted to go into business with someone who had a new idea of how to offer television in different ways," HBO International's president of programming sales Charles Schreger said in an interview.

The announcement comes after rumors surfaced last week that negotiations between France Telecom and French film industry reps concerning how much Orange must invest in national production would stall the Cinema Series launch. France's state broadcast regulator the CSA still needs to approve the offer.