Spanish television: main market trends

Entering a post-“Money Heist” phase, the Spanish TV drama industry is immersed in international growth strategies as it promotes new and original voices at home that create TV stories with universal appeal.

Major television production and distribution companies such as The Mediapro Studio, Onza Entertainment, Secuoya Studios and Buendía Estudios are building beachheads in the Americas to reinforce the place in the sun of the global television series industry that the Spanish television industry already occupies.

Constituting by far the largest part of a Spanish-speaking community of 600 million people worldwide, Latin America and the Hispanic United States represent the most obvious growth market.

However, a common ambition for Spanish companies eyeing the Americas is to develop projects in the region but aimed at the global market, which are also increasingly based on intellectual property. And the most natural formula is to rely on international co-productions, which allow projects to grow and attract Latin talent.

The most recent move, just announced by Buendía Estudios, the joint venture created in 2020 by media conglom Atresmedia with telecom giant Telefonica Movistar Plus’ payment box, is its landing in Mexico, appealing to Ana Paula Valdovinos — a former Telemundo Global Studios executive — as director. production and development for Latin America and the Hispanic United States.

Buendía’s first project in the Americas, “Swift as Desire,” a romantic fantasy drama series, adapts a seminal novel by Mexican Laura Esquivel.

Meanwhile, The Mediapro Studio, one of Europe’s super independents, is prioritizing the US as its growth market, for which it has tapped Eugeni Sallent and Carolina Bilbao as head of Latin America. and vice president of content and business development for the United States.

Current TMS productions in the United States include the miniseries “Is There No Place on Earth for Me?” by John Turturro and “The Doctor” spy thriller series by “Fauda” director Assaf Bernstein.

TMS has also completed the upcoming “Las Bravas” series, a WarnerMedia co-production for HBO Max; the thriller series “The Implacable Code,” co-produced with Sony Pictures Television for Claro Video; and the television report “Hunting Ava Bravo”, with Erik Barmack’s Wild Sheep Content.

Courtesy of Atresmedia

Founded last year in Miami, Onza Americas marked the expansion of Madrid-based Onza Entertainment, producer of the cult Spanish series “The Department of Time”. The objective is to increase Onza’s capacity to design and execute co-production projects between Spain and Latin America. Onza Americas has just recruited Harvey Grisalez as senior vice president – ​​replacing Vincenzo Gratteri – and Inés Havraneg as chief content officer.

After signing an alliance with Telemundo Streaming Studios in September to co-develop, co-produce and co-finance multiple television fiction projects until 2023, Secuoya Studios has just joined forces with American streaming service Pantaya and production company William Levy Entertainment.

“Montecristo” – an original series set in La Habana, Madrid and Miami, based on the classic “The Count of Montecristo” by Alexandre Dumas and Latin star Willian Levy (“Resident Evil: The Final Chapter”) – marks the first fruit of the pact.

“Our goal is to generate strategic business alliances that ensure competitiveness and volume of trade,” said Secuoya Group President Raúl Berdones.

Spanish players who develop abroad benefit at the same time from very solid fundamentals for their activity in their country, where they have solid production links with the major global and local SVOD players.

“With budgets relatively lower than European and American standards, Spanish production reaches superlative quality levels. Platforms and broadcasters are well aware of this,” says Sonia Martínez, editorial director of Buendía Estudios series.

“Spanish local production really took off after the launch of private networks in 1989-90. We spent 30 years on the pits making series, learning by trial and error,” adds Martínez.

But the television landscape has changed dramatically.

Vancouver Media’s flagship series “Money Heist” first launched on Atresmedia’s free-to-air Antena 3 channel in 2017 before bursting into spectacular fashion worldwide via Netflix, where its Part 4 recorded. 619 million viewing hours in its first 28 days.

The second generation of SVOD platforms arriving in Spain – bringing together Disney Plus, Paramount Plus and Starzplay – is looking for TV projects that will allow them to differentiate themselves from their competitors and attract subscribers, an increasingly complicated task. among the current offers.

“The public is clearly fracturing and there are more and more aggressive bets on a creative level”, explains Caroline Servy of The Wit.

“With the arrival of new platforms, there are slightly different criteria on how to judge success. Ambitious and sometimes risky auteur series are really successful. Without reaching millions and millions of viewers, they acquired by operators and television platforms around the world,” she explains.

Series such as the comedy “Vida Perfecta” by Leticia Dolera, combining Spain’s Corte y Confección with Movistar Plus, HBO Max and Beta Film “address universal issues but are very Spanish in their craziness, in their way of telling”, Service explains.

Atresplayer Premium and Buendía Estudios have teamed up on the “Veneno” trans bioseries, created by Javier Calvo and Javier Ambrossi, known as Los Javis, through their Suma Latina label. It was successfully launched by HBO Max in the United States and Latin America, and acquired by BrutX in France.

“His impact on international media and his contribution to strengthening the Atresmedia brand and the international recognition of Los Javis as creators has made “Veneno” Atresmedia the most important recent hit”, explains Mercedes Gamero, Head of Acquisitions and sales of Atresmedia.

Suma Latina also teamed up with Atresmedia and Buendía Estudios on Atresplayer Premium’s “Cardo,” one of last year’s hottest indie series, renewed for a second season, again by creators and writers Claudia Costafreda and Ana Rujas, who also play.

Veneno and Cardo “highlight the breadth of genres and the diversity of the series we produce and broadcast,” Gamero says.

“In general, TV fiction hits are divided into two different types of productions. There are some success stories, aided by a good programming and delivery strategy, and then some more organic ones, which are author stories that are now finding a market on operators and platforms that didn’t exist before.” , argues Served.

“Now we’re in another paradigm, there are more windows and that accompanies creativity,” she says.

“The younger generations are different but it’s something that works well with the DNA of Spanish TV fiction, although it’s not just Spanish, but it’s very compatible and there’s reason to think that it will continue to work,” Servey concludes.

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Courtesy of Buendia Estudios

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