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The boom in drama series is giving the Spanish industry the most successful time in its history. Major players like Atresmedia, Mediaset España and Mediapro are now in the process of positioning themselves as global content producers.

España se mueve (I): Fuerte apuesta de los operadores tradicionales por la producción global de contenidos

There has always been great demand for Spanish TV dramas in the local market. These series have spawned a growing production industry driven by unprecedented success in the international market. The quality of these productions, using Spanish casts and technical resources, has allowed the industry to become a leading producer of premium content for the Spanish-speaking market.

Last year, “La Casa de Papel” (Money Heist), a Vancouver Media production originally broadcasted by Atresmedia TV, became the most watched non-English-language series in the history of Netflix. “Elite”, from Zeta Audiovisual, the second original Netflix series in Spain, topped the world's most-watched online series list, published by Parrot Analytics, for several weeks.

Both productions come in the wake of productions like “Grand Hotel” and “Velvet” which paved the way for Spanish productions in the international market, especially in Latin America.

Spectacular growth

The flourishing SVOD market has contributed to spectacular growth in series production. When opening its European production hub in Madrid, Netflix announced that it would produce five new series in Spain.

Movistar +, Telefónica's pay TV operator, is planning to increase its commitment to original drama production, which began in 2017, to 15 series per year.

Meanwhile, leading free-to-air TV operators Mediaset España and Atresmedia, the traditional driving forces of the production sector in Spain, have reinvented themselves as studios producing content for third parties, hoping to gain a competitive advantage from their experience and success creating drama.

“La Templanza”

Since its launch in early 2018, Atresmedia Studios has signed an agreement with Amazon to produce original series “La Templanza”, based on the book with the same title by María Dueñas, author of “El Tiempo entre Costuras” (The Time in Between), which was adapted for TV in 2013 with great success in terms of viewing figures and international sales for Atresmedia and Boomerang TV.

During this period, Atresmedia Studios has also worked with the creators of “Money Heist”, Álex Pina and Esther Martínez Lobato, to produce the Movistar + thriller “El Embarcadero” (The Pier), with outstanding international sales through Beta Film. Atresmedia Studios also co-produced romantic series “Pequeñas Coincidencias” (Little Coincidences) with Onza Entertainment for Amazon Prime Video.

Launch at MipTV

The recent edition of MipTV in Cannes served as an international début for Mediterráneo Audiovisual, Mediaset España's new brand whose sales, acquisition and production activities are managed by Ghislain Barrois.

Alea Media, the fruit of an alliance with Aitor Gabilondo, creator of “Vivir sin Permiso” (Unauthorized Living), acquired by Netflix for global broadcast, and now producing “Patria”, HBO's first original series in Spain is among the companies in this business group.

One new series marketed by Mediterráneo, the comedy “Señoras del (H)ampa”(Dangerous Moms), a production by co-owned Mandarina, won the MIPDrama Buyers Coup de Coeur prize on the eve of the latest MIPTV. Another candidate for this award was “Brigada Costa del Sol”, a co-production by Mediaset España and Warner Bros Intl. TV and Netflix.

Retaining copyright

Mediapro has been producing premium international series since 2014, such as the acclaimed “The Young Pope” and its sequel, “The New Pope”, in association with Sky and HBO.

In March, Mediapro launched The Mediapro Studio, an initiative to co-produce global content, with the intention of retaining total or partial copyright. The studio has already brought 34 drama series to the table that are currently in production, the fruit of a frenetic policy of strategic alliances with international operators such as Televisa, Viacom International Studios, Disney, Turner and Vice.