This New Streaming Service Provides High-Quality Foreign TV Dramas You Probably Haven’t Seen Before

Walter Presents is a curated SVOD service for $6.99 a month

Valkyrien, Flight HS13, and Black Widow are some of the shows available on Walter Presents in the U.S.
Courtesy of Hightail

Walter Iuzzolino has watched more than 4,000 hours of television just for you.

Iuzzolino, a former TV executive, is passionate about what makes good TV. That’s why he created Walter Presents, which streams what he deems to be the best TV shows in the world.

Walter Iuzzolino
Courtesy of Hightail

Available on iPhone and Android devices, Apple TV, Amazon Channels, and Roku devices, Walter Presents will feature foreign-language dramas from around the world for $6.99 a month. At launch, 34 shows from 11 countries will be available to subscribers.

With more series being added each month, Iuzzolino effectively acts as the algorithm that other streaming services try to provide and also like a friend who really wants you to get into his new favorite show.

“What we offer on the one hand is very different,” said Iuzzolino, “but on the other, it’s very similar to other great dramas you’ve already been watching.”

Spin, for example, is a French political thriller not unlike House of Cards. Gregory Fitoussi, one of the stars of Spin, said, “If the show is good, it doesn’t matter where it comes from. If my friends tell me I should watch it, then I know it’s good. That’s what Walter is for people.”

While all of the shows featured on Walter Presents are subtitled in English, Iuzzolino personally records an introductory trailer for each one so viewers know what they’re getting into.

Walter Presents started in January 2016 on Channel 4 in the U.K. To entice new viewers, Channel 4 often airs the first episodes of new shows coming to Walter Presents. Its original launch series, Deutschland 83, debuted as the highest rated foreign drama in U.K. television history.

In the U.K., Walter Presents had 18 million streams in its first year, and it’s “continually hungry for more,” said Iuzzolino.

Walter Presents opens a “whole new world of mainstream drama to discover,” said Iuzzolino. All of the shows available on the service must have a few key qualities: they must be beloved in their countries of origin, award-winning or acclaimed series, and/or have the necessary high-quality writing, acting and directing.

Jo McGrath, also a former TV exec in the U.K. and a co-founder of Walter Presents, wants to assuage American viewers’ fear of reading subtitles.

“We hired the best company to do these subtitles for us, and they’ve really studied the science behind the balance of timing your reading speed and enjoyment of watching,” she said.

Iuzzolino added, “Just dive in and trust the subtitles. The series will feel relatable anyway, and you’ll get swept away.”

Though Iuzzolino loves American dramas and suggested that those production companies have so far led the charge, he thinks it would be “a cultural crime for some of these new shows not to pop off.” And despite audiences’ unquenchable thirst for drama, the team behind Walter Presents is also aware of the timing of such a globalized service.

“At a time where countries are looking more inward,” Iuzzolino said, “it’s the perfect time to open a window outward.”

Some of the series available on Walter Presents are from places viewers probably haven’t paid much attention, at least when it comes to their TV dramas.

With stories from Argentina to Turkey to Poland to Israel, Iuzzolino said, “you can develop relationships with any kind of content, even if it takes a little effort.”

“There’s been a global maturation of quality,” Iuzzolino said, “and I’m proud of how we’ve all reached this place.”

Below are key art for each series that will be available on Walter Presents upon launch. Iuzzolino describes Flight HS13 as a Dutch thriller that’s a cross between The Affair and Homeland. Valkyrien is a “big Scandi noir” about an underground hospital that sees criminals while the lead doctor searches for a cure for his wife. Black Widow is a Dutch take on The Sopranos, and Spin, Iuzzolino suggested, is like House of Cards if it were set in France.

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