Walter Presents: All 4’s foreign-language VOD service to launch in January 2016
Staff Reporter | On 30, Sep 2015
Channel 4’s new foreign-language VOD service will launch in January 2016. The free platform will showcase TV programmes from around the world for UK viewers, through a new partnership between Global Series Network (GSN) and Channel 4.
The broadcaster has increasingly established itself as a destination for high-quality world drama, with a regular Friday night slot on More4 broadcasting The Saboteurs and Witnesses in recent weeks and Channel 4 bringing French hit The Returned to British screens.
Now, Channel 4 is building on that careful positioning by launching a streaming service dedicated solely to that niche, which will be available exclusively on All 4. In a golden age of French and Scandi serial dramas, the promise of a new, free VOD service is a dream come true for fans of jumpers and chilling murders.
The only catch? The name. Previously called 4 World Drama, that working title has been changed to “Walter Presents”. The “unique branding” was chosen by Channel 4 to “emphasise the curatorial nature of the service”. Indeed, it is named after Walter Iuzzolino, the Chief Creative Officer of GSN, who will personally curate the new service.
Walter has already hand-picked the first show to launch the service: Germany’s Deutschland 83.
The 8-part thriller, set amid the menaces of a divided Germany in the early 1980s, is the first German-language drama ever to air in the US, proving a hit on SundanceTV channel this summer.
Created by German-American husband and wife team, Anna Winger and Joerg Winger, the series reveals the experiences of Germans from both sides of the wall. Against the perilous political backdrop of the Cold War, Deutschland 83 tells the coming-of-age story of Martin Rauch (Jonas Nay), a 24 year old East Germany native, who is thrust from the world as he knows and sent over the wall to the West as an undercover spy for the Stasi.
Jay Hunt, Chief Creative Officer at Channel 4, describes the programme as “a perfect launch for Walter Presents”.
The series will premiere on Channel 4 before being available exclusively as a box-set on the service. That relationship will continue, with a selection of the best series from Walter Presents also being broadcast on Channel 4 and More 4, the latter within “a dedicated, regular scheduled slot” – most likely on Friday evenings.
“With its strong characters and bold storylines, Deutschland 83 is an ideal and key series for the Walter Presents launch,” says FremantleMedia International’s Executive Vice President, Head of Sales and Distribution, EMEA, Jamie Lynn. “We’re thrilled to be working with the teams at GSN and Channel 4 to bring one of the most anticipated series of 2015 to the UK.”
“This is the perfect time to introduce UK viewers to a much broader choice of the very best dramas and box sets from around the world, which they never previously knew existed,” adds Walter himself.
Indeed, Deutschland 83 is the first of many titles that are lined up for the first year of programming, with shows on Walter Presents heralding from countries as diverse as Brazil, France, Sweden, the Czech Republic, Argentina, Israel, Belgium, Poland, Chile and Denmark. Walter Presents will eventually be home to more than 600 hours of TV. Episodes will also be available to download for offline viewing on the go.