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“Señoras del (H)Ampa” (Dangerous Moms), “Estoy Vivo” (I’m Alive) and “Pulseras Rojas” (The Red Band Society), the bestselling fiction formats

Europe, the main market for Spanish series formats

In the past, Spanish broadcasting networks and producers tended to design their fiction projects to prioritize success in the local prime time. The international market only began to show an interest once the buyers saw the excellent ratings they received when broadcast.

The changes in the market and the needs for funding have led to a situation where producers are increasingly looking for series that can be co-produced or have a capacity to be adapted to other territories.

“International buyers have set their sights on fiction produced in Spain, which is also increasing the demand for formats”, explains Silvia Cotino, head of Sales and Business Development at Mediterráneo Mediaset España Group.

Mediterráneo was responsible for the massive sales of the original version of the series “Señoras del (h)AMPA”, signing agreements in territories such as Latin America (where it was acquired by OnDIRECTV), Brazil (Globosat) and Germany (TVNow, RTL's OTT service). But this black comedy produced by Mandarina is also having interesting sales as a format, particularly in European countries, where its Italian adaptation rights have been acquired by Picomedia, the producer of films such as “Twice born” or series like “Los relojes del diablo”.

After an agreement with the Star TV network in Greece, “Señoras del (h)AMPA” has become the fourth Spanish comedy format to enter the Greek market, after the Antenna network acquired the adaptation rights to “El Chiringuito de Pepe” (Pepe’s Beach Bar), Alpha TV bought the remake of “Escenas de matrimonio” (Marriage Scenes) and Skai did the same with “La que se avecina”, all marketed by Mediterráneo. As a format, “Señoras del (h)AMPA” has also been licensed in countries such as Romania and Hungary.

Escenas de matrimonio”, produced by Alba Adriática for Mediaset España, has been successfully sold as a format in around 20 territories, and – under the title “Scénes de Menàges” – continues enjoying spectacular ratings on the French network M6 one decade after it was first broadcast.

Globomedia, a key player in the sale of Spanish fiction formats

Globomedia, a part of The Mediapro Studio, has been instrumental in creating and exporting Spanish fiction since its launch in 1993.

Marketing its titles through Imagina International Sales, the recent achievements of the distribution arm of The Mediapro Studio in the sale of fiction formats include two agreements with the production companies Chabraque in Francia and Garbo Produzioni in Italy for the adaptation of “Estoy vivo”, a series broadcast in prime time on TVE.

Imagina has also agreed the sale to Ukraine (ICTV) of the rights to the format of “Olmos y Robles”, produced by 100 Balas – also part of The Mediapro Studio – for TVE.

The CV of Imagina International Sales is studded with agreements with companies, many of them European, for the adaptation of Spanish fiction, showing that the current boom in these series worldwide did not happen overnight. Globomedia's family comedies such as “Los Serrano” and “Médico de familia” were major hits for Telecinco (Mediaset Group) before being adapted in a multitude of territories. The Fox Broadcast Company even acquired an option for the first in 2014 for its adaptation in the United States. That same year, the Russian version of “El barco” was launched on the CTC network, which in 2011 had already broadcast a remake of another of Globomedia's international hits, “El internado”.

The success of 'Polseres vermelles' (The Red Band Society)

Another Spanish fiction format that has been successful abroad is “Polseres vermelles”, a production by Arca Audiovisual for the Catalan network TV3 and sold by Filmax, which won Best Series in the 2015 International Emmy Kids Awards.

Adapted in the French market by TF1 under the title “Les Bracelets Rouges”, the two seasons broadcast so far received excellent audience ratings, and TF1 has already given the green light to start production of a third.

Palomar (“El comisario Montalbano”) also produced three seasons of the Italian version for RAI, whereas in Germany RTL's Vox network screened the remake produced by Bantry Bay. The adaptation by Amblin TV and ABC Studios for Fox in the United States was cancelled at the end of 2014 after one season.

“'Polseres' is the IP that has represented the most versions and the most hits for us”, says Iván Díaz, head of Filmax's international division. “It also taught us that in the sale of formats the main business is not so much in the United States but in Europe”, he adds.

One of the titles that has done most to break new ground in the internationalization of Spanish fiction is the drama “Gran Hotel”, produced by Bambú for Atresmedia, which has been sold by Beta Film in 65 countries.

The format of “Gran Hotel” was adapted by RAI for Italy in 2015, and Univisión launched the Mexican version in the Hispanic market in the United States in early 2016. Entitled “El Hotel de los Secretos”, it was a soap consisting of 80 episodes produced by Televisa. The Egyptian network CBC also produced an Arab version for the Middle East and North Africa. The American adaptation produced by Eva Longoria for the ABC network through UnbeliEVAble Entertainment was cancelled this autumn after one season.

Four versions have been made of the series “Los misterios de Laura” (Mom Detective), produced by Boomerang TV for RTVE, of which the most notable is the one starring Debra Messing in the United States screened by NBC for two seasons (2014-2016).

Desaparecida”, a series produced by Grupo Ganga for RTVE in 2007, was adapted by Quad TV (“The Intouchables”) for France 2 in France. Under the title “Disparu”, this French version was a success in 2015 and was later shown on BBC4 in the United Kingdom to good audience ratings.