WorldScreenings: SPI International


Operating 42 TV channels and digital services on six continents, SPI International has a truly global reach. Its flagship FilmBox channel, which carries the motto “Home of Good Movies,” alone reaches more than 30 million homes in 25 countries with a catalog that spans Hollywood blockbusters, classic evergreens, world cinema gems and local productions. “The FilmBox movie service provides a comprehensive entertainment experience with multiple linear channels and streaming services available through hundreds of pay-TV operators worldwide,” says CEO Berk Uziyel. “We enable viewers to consume a large catalog of films both through linear and on-demand whenever and wherever they desire.”

Uziyel goes on to explain that FilmBox, Film1 and Timeless Dizi Channel (TDC) are the key focuses for growth. “FilmBox is one of our most sought-after services, rapidly growing its presence across the world,” he notes.

SPI acquired the Dutch premium movie services brand Film1 in the Netherlands in 2019 from Sony. “Within a year, we are seeing improvements in terms of the reception of our brand proposition of ‘Always a Good Movie (Altijd Een Goede Film)’ by the viewers in the region,” Uziyel adds. “Through our various efforts, we have managed to secure a steady increase in the total number of subscribers of Film1, reversing the previous course. We continue to take important steps toward further strengthening our relationships with distributors and our operator partners to bring even more quality content to a larger number of households in the country.”

TDC, a premium Turkish-drama channel launched in 2019, has been “soaring to global success,” says Uziyel. The channel is currently available in 81 countries through 19 operators reaching 25 million households. Recent launches include multiple territories in the Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa. “We aim to expand our footprint in the Western European market via TDC in 2021 and beyond,” he adds. In the new year, the company is planning to launch the new streaming app DIZI, which lets viewers across the world watch a curated selection of the best Turkish series on-demand.

SPI also has a robust content catalog, with programming across all genres that is sourced from a broad array of suppliers. “We have developed strong partnerships with major studios, mini-majors, broadcasters’ distribution arms, as well as independent production and distribution companies working both globally and locally, to assure that we broadcast on our channels the best content they produce,” Uziyel explains. “Our acquisition focus spans the latest hits as well as evergreens for movies, global hits for TV series and the highest-rated TV programs from around the world for our factual slots. Local productions are also of great value for us in territories where we have extended our footprint with local channels.”

New to the catalog are Universe’s Most Wanted, starring Dave Bautista and directed by Brad Peyton; Little America, a dystopian action thriller with Sylvester Stallone; The Doorman, an action thriller with Jean Reno; and Emperor, based on the life story of Shields Green.

SPI co-produced My Dad’s Christmas Date, a heartfelt Christmas comedy with Jeremy Piven, Joely Richardson and Olivia-Mai Barrett, and has the title available across most territories. Also co-produced by SPI, The Intergalactic Adventures of Max Cloud is a sci-fi action movie with a comedic twist and eye-catching visual effects starring Scott Adkins.

“Our catalog continues to expand rapidly with great content from the best independent producers on the market,” says Uziyel. “Our primary focus in terms of international sales is to provide our clients with ready-made content, which is very valuable and in-demand nowadays for both linear and digital platforms. Considering that due to COVID-19 there will be delays for new productions, we make sure to provide our clients with a large pool of finished content: first-run and evergreen reissues, both dubbed and subtitled, and available for immediate release in all genres, regions and markets. In addition, we have theatrical titles that we plan to release next year once cinemas reopen.”

SPI’s aim in the coming years, according to Uziyel, will be to continue to provide a “well-rounded, high-quality entertainment experience” through its FilmBox and Film1 movie services that combine linear and on-demand viewing experiences.

“The future of entertainment will be a hybrid one, with viewers accessing both pay-TV channels—due to the simplicity and convenience—and on-demand services—for the option to be able to watch the content of their choosing at their own time,” he continues. “We believe viewers will subscribe to multiple services and operators will continue to act as aggregators. There will be packages of different services, and our movie services with the tagline of ‘Home of Good Movies’ will be a great part of these bundles. We will position ourselves as a neighboring service provider to big streaming giants and continue to work with our partners to create these new packages.”

In terms of content distribution, SPI’s expansion into Western Europe is a significant move. “We have developed a strong distribution partnership in the U.K., and we plan to release more titles in this territory in the coming year. We’re also expanding into the German, Spanish and Portuguese markets.” The company additionally has Latin America in focus for 2021, while continuing to deliver top-quality entertainment to its core markets across CEE, Africa, CIS, Turkey, Benelux and elsewhere.

See SPI International’s Winter 2020 Showcase here.