Spain’s Bullish TV Industry Debates Future, Showcases Series at Berlin
The latest series from Alex de la Iglesia and “Veneno” creators Javier Ambrossi and Javier Calvo feature at a first-look Next from Spain Showcase which marks a massive step-up in the country’s presence at the Berlinale Series Market.
Running Feb. 20-22, the showcase also unveils “Rapa” Season 2, with its first season proving Movistar+’s biggest 2022 bow, and “This Is Not Sweden,” a pioneering Spanish co-production with Scandinavia and Germany.
More from Variety
'He is an Unreliable Narrator of His Own Story': Creators Adina Sădeanu and Kirsten Peters Talk HBO Max Espionage Drama 'Spy/Master'
'Vestidas De Azul,' Continuing Los Javis' 'Veneno,' Adds Susana Abaitua, Elena Irureta, Further Cast
Alex de la Iglesia, Carolina Bang Look to 'Go Bigger' at Pokeepsie Films
The Showcase titles are joined by Isaki Lacuesta’s “The Chauffeur’s Son,” a Co-Pro Series project from “Elite’s” Zeta Studios, and “Selftape,” a Filmin Original from Filmax and a Series Market Screening.
Prior to 2023, Spanish titles only screened very occasionally at the market. This year’s splash , however, is entirely logical.
Thanks in part to a captive audience of 580 million Spanish speakers who are largely avid for melodrama-thrillers with a modern edge – think “La Casa de Papel,” “Who Killed Sara?” – Spanish-language shows dominate Netflix’s Top 10 of most successful non-English series of all time with four slots to Korea’s three.
In March 2021, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez announced a Spain AVS Plan to plow $1.6 billion into Spain’s film-TV sectors as part of its Spain’s recuperation plan from pandemic.
Part of those moneys has gone to Spain’s ICEX, its export and inward investment board, which co-organizes Next from Spain with Iberseries & Platino Industria.
The Spanish splash catches Spanish production as Netflix hours of Spanish content rose in 2022 from 64 to 123 in Spain, more than Japan (60 to 109) and U.K. (60 to 92), according to Enders Analysis,
Yet industry consensus at Miami’s Content Americas conference strand in January was that as platforms focus ever more on driving profitability, not subs growth, in the interests of cost containment many global streamers will be ever more willing to share IP. Certainly co-production looks like one of the key mantras at this year’s Berlinale Series Market, and most probably a topic at an Audiovisual From Spain panel, Spanish Fiction Contents, New Releases & Financial Opportunities, taking place in Berlin on Feb.20.
“The series that we’re making are increasingly ambitious and powerful and with casts which require much more investment,” says Montse García, fiction director at Atresmedia TV which produced “Veneno” and “The Gypsy Bride,” two Atresplayer Premium Originals, with HBO Max and Paramount+ respectively.
“Thanks to these international alliances, the series have large international repercussion,” García adds
The Showcase’s featured shows, shooting or shot, will be looking for distribution, notes Beltrán Gortázar, CEO of Suma Content, founded by Ambrossi and Calvo and producer of “Vestidas de Azul,” an Atresplayer Premium Original.
That said, he comments, when it comes to financing, “There’s an industry re-set. Formulas that functioned over the last five years don’t work any longer. Streamers are constricting budgets. Probably co-production is one of the only ways to finance big projects of large ambition and global impact,” he adds.
“Co-production contains risk on the costliest projects. Your co-producer can help territory-by-territory distribution where it operates. A partner who shares your vision can, moreover, bring a lot to the table in creative terms, “says Domingo Corral, director of original fiction at Movistar+, which co-produced Alejandro Amenábar’s “La Fortuna” with AMC Studios and “Tell Me Who I Am” and “El Inmortal” with Telemundo.
”After huge growth, there’s a certain contention in investment, which creates more willingness to look for alliances,” he adds.
A neighbouring strategy is to bring on anchor broadcaster clients from the get-go, pre-sales which Mediapro Studio achieved on “The Head” Season 1 with Hulu Japan and HBO Asia. Retaining IP, TMS went on to sell Seasons 1 and 2 to 90 territories.
A neighbouring strategy is to bring on anchor broadcaster clients from the get go, pre-sales which The Mediapro Studio achieved on “The Head” Season 1 with Hulu Japan and HBO Asia. Retaining IP, TMS went on to see Seasons 1 and 2 to 90 territories.
“Pre-sales on finished series which are ambitious, both artistically and commercially, are indeed another way for us to produce content fully developed in house,” recognizes Marta Ezpeleta, The Mediapro Studio director of distribution, co-productions and international offices.
Yet “co-production or early pre-sales have to have two common denominators: “That the series makes sense for partners and the partners have screens, an outlet for the series”, she adds.
Best of Variety
Sign up for Variety’s Newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.