SVOD giants such as Netflix are driving free-to-air TV to seek out alternative business opportunities in the digital sphere.

Operators of free-to-air TV are promoting Spanish fiction through their OTT services.

As is occurring at the international level, free-to-air operators in Spain are increasingly looking to reinforce their OTT platforms by differentiating contents, in some cases through series produced in-house.

Groups such as Atresmedia TV and RTVE use their own fiction to add value to their online service or else as a talent incubator. In the case of Mediaset España, this option is more a result of its philosophy of expanding the emission windows for its main series.

“El nudo”, exclusive fiction

The OTT Atresplayer Premium, a subscription-based payment platform that offers contents with no advertising for 2.99 euros a month and which can be viewed around the world, is part of Atresmedia Televisión.

The thriller “El nudo”, a Diagonal TV production (“La Catedral del Mar”) and an adaptation of the hit by the Argentinian Telefé, “Amar después de amar”, is the first attempt at exclusive fiction by Atresplayer Premium.

The suspense series “Toy boy”, created by Plano a Plano (“El Príncipe”) which was highlighted by The Wit as one of the freshest fictions on the market in the last MIPTV, has been available since September to subscribers of Atresmedia Premium with a new episode every Sunday, before being screened for free on the TV channel Antena 3.

The biopic series “Veneno”, created by Javier Calvo and Javier Ambrossi, comes to Atresplayer Premium thanks to Atresmedia Studios, the co-producer with Suma Latina in association with Apache Films.

Atresmedia's move towards online fiction also continues with projects such as the terror series aimed at younger audiences in six episodes entitled “”, produced by Boomerang TV for the online youth channel Flooxer, accessible through Atresplayer.

More activity in independent production

For its part, in 2017 the public corporation RTVE launched Playz, a digital platform oriented to younger audiences that is serving to nurture an important pipeline of new fiction creators, while contributing to generating greater activity in the independent production sector.

Since then, notable titles have appeared such as the transmedia series “Si fueras tú”, an Atomis Media production for RTVE, which last year won the award for best digital series at the New York Festival.

Hill Valley, by the group iZen Producciones Spain, and The Other Side Films have produced the dramedy “Colegas” and the supernatural thriller “Dorian” respectively.

Elsewhere, Dani de la Orden, director of “Élite”, the Netflix hit produced by Zeta Audiovisual, has directed the youth drama “Boca Norte”, a Lavinia Audiovisual production for RTVE.

The thriller “Bajo la red”, produced by Isla Audiovisual (“No te puedes esconder”), has won awards such as the Golden Globe at the World Media Festival in Hamburg.

Among the forthcoming projects by Playz is “Drama”, a series filmed in Spanish and Catalan, with production by El Terrat, while Different Entertainment is preparing the comedy “Grasa”, after the success of “Mambo”.

The production companies Star Élite Producciones and Onza Partners are responsible for the series “Wake up”, which combines fiction with virtual reality.

Expanding emission windows

Mediaset España's content strategy for subscription OTT differs from that of Atresmedia Televisión and RTVE in that the main focus is on sports content.

Mediaset España operates two streaming platforms, Mitele – with advertising – and its subscription version, Mitele Plus, whose main differentiating element is the Spanish League and European Champions League football matches.

Mitele Plus also offers international and Spanish series from Mediaset España's catalogue such as “Secretos de estado”, “El Príncipe” and “Sé quién eres”, while Mtmad, the group's native content platform, tends more towards reality-type shows like “Crazy Camp”.

Nonetheless, Mediaset is expanding the emission windows for its main fiction series. “Señoras del (h)ampa”, a series with advance sales in numerous territories through Mediterráneo, is accessible both on Mitele and on Amazon Prime Video and Comedy Central.