Following the SVOD explosion pioneered by Netflix, Spain has become a prime destination for companies with global aspirations in the field of TV content production and distribution.
In 2017 Netflix screened its first original Spanish series, “Las chicas del cable” (Cable Girls), produced by Bambú. Since then its links with the local industry have kept on growing. The worldwide success of productions like “Élite” (Elite) and “La casa de papel” (Money Heist) has merely served to further whet its appetite for this market.
This has led to Netflix opening its first European production centre in the Ciudad de la Tele (City of Television) in Tres Cantos (Madrid) on April 4 this year as part of an ambitious and unprecedented investment plan targeting Spanish content. During the opening ceremony Reed Hastings, CEO of Netflix, confirmed that the company currently has 24 original series in production or under development in Spain. “We wish to form part of Spain's creative ecosystem. We are investing in the long term; we are here to stay and to play an active role”, he said.
Netflix was the first worldwide SVOD operator to appreciate the potential of an industry like Spain’s, which for over two decades has been producing successful series for the highly competitive local prime time TV market, with a major knock-on effect in international markets.
A traditional destination for large-scale film productions, due to its spectacular landscapes and the quality of its technicians, since 2015 Spain has been offering possible tax incentives of up to 45% for international series and films, which makes it even more attractive as a production centre.
“Atrapa un Ladrón” (To Catch a Thief), a Mediapro Studios / Viacom International Studios co-production
In February, Viacom International Studios (VIS) confirmed the imminent opening of a production hub in Madrid as part of its growth strategy for the production of exclusively Spanish language content. VIS has been operating in Latin America since last year.
One example of the synergies that VIS is capable of generating in both territories is the Javier Olivares series “Atrapa un Ladrón”, based on the film by Alfred Hitchcock and shot by the studio’s teams in Barcelona and Buenos Aires.
HBO España, growing
With Miguel Salvat in the role of VP Commissioning Editor Original Programming, HBO has recently announced two new fiction series, “30 monedas”, a Pokeepsie Films production directed by Álex de la Iglesia, and “Foodie Love”, the first series created by Isabel Coixet and her production company Miss Wasabi Films.
They are joined by “El Pionero”, a non-fiction series about the life of the late Spanish businessman Jesús Gil, produced for HBO by JWP.
Amazon Prime Video, Beta Film, Federation Entertainment and…
The online distribution giant is continuing to partner with other major local production companies including Mediaset España, with which it is co-financing new series, such as “Caronte” or “El Pueblo”.
However, some in the media are claiming that Amazon’s objective in Spain is more ambitious and that it is planning the creation of a production centre similar to the one recently opened by Netflix.
Beta Film, the German distribution group headed by Jan Mojto, is very closely linked with Spanish fiction and has participated in the funding and marketing of some of the most emblematic series of recent years, as well as having entered into a series distribution and production agreement with Movistar +. Presumably, one of the next steps to be taken in Spain will be the opening of a sales office run by Christian Gockel, the current Executive VP Sales and Acquisitions.
After leaving his job as programming manager of TVE at the beginning of the year, Toni Sevilla is shaping up to be in charge of the Spanish office of the international production and distribution company Federation Entertainment. The company, run by Pascal Breton and the producer behind series like “The Bureau” and “Marseille”, is in the midst of an international expansion plan, in which Spain would be the bridge to the Latin American market.