From Telefónica to Movistar: A European Case of the Transformation of a Telecom Into a Global TV Company

María José Pérez-Serrano, José Vicente García Santamaría, Andreu Casero Ripollés


Telefónica became a private company in the 1990s, and since the liberalization of the telecommunications sector, it has operated in the most competitive local market in Europe. The company has tried to compensate for the loss of hegemony in its country with a strong position in other European and Latin American markets. Among its diversification projects, following in the footsteps of AT&T, its attempt to transform itself into a global TV company stands out. This article analyzes the evolution that this Spanish company has undergone in the last 30 years. The most relevant factor in its role as a pay-TV service provider is that it has been forced to face a substantial economic outlay to have original content and a position of supremacy in the purchase of sports broadcasting rights. Our results indicate that today two visions coexist within Telefónica: One committed to maintaining a pay-TV model, and another that considers that paid content should occupy a secondary role, limiting itself to being a mere platform aggregator, after forming continuous alliances with Netflix, Disney+, and DAZN.


Telefónica, telecoms, pay-TV, media companies, cultural industries

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