The new Channel 4 venture Walter Presents will launch in January 2016 with around 140 hours of foreign-language programming and intends to grow that to 1,000 hours within three years. An agreement with Fremantle means that this will include several Nordic dramas, of which two have already been announced.
The service, which was previously announced with the working title 4 World Drama and is being launched through a partnership between Global Series Network (GSN) and Channel 4, will be exclusively available in the UK via Channel 4’s new digital hub, All 4.
Walter Iuzzolino, Chief Creative Officer of GSN (and after whom the service is named), will personally curate the new service which will offer a large slate of foreign-language dramas, and the first year will see offerings from a wide range of territories, including Brazil, France, Sweden, the Czech Republic, Argentina, Israel, Belgium, Poland, Chile and Denmark among others.
Channel 4 owns an equity stake in GSN, which is already in talks to launch Walter Presents in other countries, but English-language markets will be the initial focus. Beyond that, GSN CEO Jason Thorp said in an interview with Broadcast magazine that if successful it would consider moving into commissioning.
“The UK alone is not big enough to get into deficit financing or co-productions, but if we get to three markets, the goal is for us to talk to people about rights, co-productions and deficit financing. We’re already talking to people about projects that are at the script stage.”