United Group, the leading telecom and media provider in Southeast Europe, announced plans to invest €100 million into locally-produced original content, as a way of supporting local talent and professionals.
The year 2017 marked a turning point in the company's local production output, with over 30 percent of content aired on United Group's cable channels came from local productions, proving the company's commitment to support creative teams in the region. Only five years prior, locally-produced content accounted for merely 5 percent of aired content.
“In the era of global media players such as Netflix, local audiences continue to appreciate shows and films which reflect their lives and experiences. The United Group’s plan to invest €100 million in locally made content is a sign of their faith in the local talent, producers, actors, and musicians. We are excited to see more of what the region can offer,” said Dragan Solak, founder and Chairman of the Board of United Group.
Plans for further investments include contracts for new scripts, series, and other local productions. The second season of the popular crime drama Senke Nad Balkanom (Shadows over the Balkans), written and directed by Serbian filmmaker Dragan Bjelogrlic, is also planned as part of the overall investment.
“With these investments, the United Group shows its commitment to local production, drama programmes, and local talents, which is very important. At the time when technology, but also the way people consume content, keeps changing, channels such as (United Group's) TOP channel represent a revolution in the way content is aired in the region,” Bjelogrlic said.
Content produced by the United Group last year included popular dramas, talent shows, as well children's programming, including the drama Ubice Mog Oca (My Father’s Killers), the talent show Zvezde Granda (Grand Stars), the lifestyle show Prakticna Zena (Practical Woman), the animated film Pilici (Chickens), children's show Kefalica, and others.
The original content complements premium global content also available to viewers, such as films and TV shows, but also sports content aired on SK channels which include football matches of the English Premier League, the Spanish Primera, basketball games of the NBA, and Formula 1 motorsports.
United Group channels were among the cable channels with most viewers in Serbia, Croatia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2017.