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Intense sales negotiations and co-production of series despite the pandemic

Business Evaluation. First Semester (II) Platforms Strengthen their Links with Spanish Fiction

In an atypical first half of the year due to the health crisis triggered by COVID-19 and the subsequent confinement of the population, one of the most relevant features with regard to audiovisuals has been the spectacular increase in at home content consumption.

During this period, sales negotiations and co-productions of television series have continued at an intense pace, adapting to a radically different scenario, where traditional markets have given way to virtual meetings to which companies have quickly adapted.

The good health that Spanish television fiction continues to enjoy in the international market has done the rest.

With the changes in the model of content consumption, large operators such as Mediaset España and Atresmedia, are undergoing a profound transformation, evolving from their status as television channels to that of multiplatform audiovisual groups with an international focus; in search for new funding sources.

The type of link between Spanish producers and SVOD platforms - increasingly necessary when financing more ambitious projects for a global market - changes according to partners and projects.

The agreement announced in February between Mediterráneo Mediaset España Group and Amazon Prime Video has allowed this platform to premiere the fiction "Caronte” in Spain, a Big Bang Media production; "Madres. Amor y vida,” by Alea Media, and the second seasons of "Dangerous Moms,” by Mandarina Producciones, and “The Countryside," by Contubernio Films, as well as the docu series “La familia del baloncesto español,” with the participation of Supersport, and "Cooking Life," by Unicorn Content.

Coinciding with the generalized increase of content consumption caused by confinement, commercial operations sealed with the platforms by Mediterráneo, a subsidiary of Mediaset Spain, increased by 50 between the first and second quarters of the year, the company points out.

"The large volume of titles required by Netflix, Amazon Prime Vimeo, Disney, HBO and company is being the lifeline of Spanish audiovisual production," says Luis de Zubiaurre Wagner, International Audiences and Content Consultant.

Atresmedia, which has just launched Buendía Estudios in collaboration with Movistar Plus, with the aim of turning it into a reference studio in the creation and production of content in the Spanish language, signed a pioneering agreement in 2018 with Netflix that has allowed the streaming giant preferential access to its main fiction titles.

Products like “Money Heist" were born in the Atresmedia factory before they achieved global success via Netflix.

According to Netflix, 65 million households have already seen season 4 of the series created by Alex Pina (Vancouver Media) during the three weeks following its premiere on April 3rd.

"Spanish content benefits greatly from the multiplier effect of the brutal success of “Money Heist,” which has been one of the great promotional elements of Hispanic fiction and has placed the focus of the industry and viewers in our country as never before," explains De Zubiaurre.

Atresmedia has also reached production agreements with other SVOD operators such as Amazon, for whom it is preparing such long-awaited titles as "The Temperance," which Atresmedia Studios is producing in collaboration with Boomerang TV.

In addition, one of the first fiction titles to be launched by Atresmedia Studios, the comedy "Little Coincidences," produced with Onza and MedioLimón, will be adapted for the North American market, where NBC has announced the production of a pilot episode for 2021 entitled "Someone Out There."

RTVE: Co-production of Large-format Series

In the case of the public operator RTVE, co-production is consolidating as a 'modus operandi' for producing large-format series to reach international markets.

After "Inés of My Soul," a co-production with Amazon Prime Video, Chilevisión and Boomerang TV, which Amazon will be premiering on July 31st, RTVE is preparing the mini-series "Sin Límites,” by director Simon West, together with Amazon, Mono Films and Kilima Media, and has begun shooting "Ana Tramel. The Game," a thriller starring Maribel Verdú, in co-production with Tornasol, DeAPlaneta and ZDF Enterprises.

On the other hand, the strong interest in Spanish fiction persists in Latin America, where HBO begins broadcasting on August 3rd, the series "La unidad,” a co-production of Movistar Plus with Vaca Films  that has become the most successful release of this platform owned by Telefónica, and is marketed internationally by Beta Film.

In a pre-sale transaction also managed by Beta, HBO Latin America also acquired “Tell Me Who I Am,” a series co-produced by Movistar Plus and Telemundo International Studios in collaboration with Spain's DLO Producciones.

The Rise of True-crime

Beyond fiction, entertainment programs are taking up an increasing space in the offer of SVOD platforms around the world. And among these programs, True-crime is especially in high demand.

"It's a very fashionable sub-genre, for which you pay higher prices than for other types of documentaries," explains Iván Díaz, Filmax's International Sales Director.

This Barcelona company is marketing the true-crime series "The Miramar Murders," a production by La Claqueta and Irusoin, currently in post-production.

Filmax is confident that "The Miramar Murders" will prove to be one of its most powerful assets in the market during the second half of the year, after having aroused great interest in the past few months.

"Among the non-fiction content that travels best internationally, are some documentary productions (both single and serial), with a special focus on true-crime and other subjects of relevance," says De Zubiaurre.

In terms of entertainment, among the projects that stood out during the edition of MipTV online is "Before You Hit the Floor," an entertainment format created by Isabel Durán, creative director of international formats at Atresmedia Studios, winner of the MIP Formats International Pitch.