Spain Sales Surge, as Companies Embrace Split Rights Deals, Unveil New Sales (EXCLUSIVE)

Spanish super-indie production-sales companies are stepping back in time with vigor, building on opportunities opened up by streamers’ growing market flexibility to retain IP and sell territory-by-territory.

Prioritizing bottom lines over market share, global platforms are ever more splitting rights and investing less in single titles. As budgets reduce, projects’ producers are forced to court ever more partners.

That often means partnering on productions. “We accustomed customers to enjoying high-quality series with large budgets. In the new context, it is increasingly difficult to continue in this vein if you don’t partner,” says Onza’s Carlos Garde.

Aiding this, Spain’s TV drama sector is still living a Golden Age. “Spanish TV fiction presence is on the rise, both on platforms and on international pay TV and free-to-air channels,” argues Atresmedia’s José Antonio Salso, who is moving buzz title “Nights in Tefía” at MipTV.

“There’s a large demand for Spanish-language content,” agrees The Mediapro Studio’s Marta Ezpeleta. “Its level and quality position it in places traditionally reserved for fiction from territories such as the U.S.”

The streamers’ increasingly more limited production investment works in favor of indie sellers’ interests, allowing them to roll out sales territory by territory and retain more IP. But they will continue to partner one way for other on many projects.

“Big global platforms are going to continue to feed off new series, either through own production or acquisition,” Salso thinks. 

“Quality third-party content has always been key. If [streamers’] originals do down in number, it’s going to be even more important,” argues María Valenzuela, at Movistar Plus+ Internacional.

“Our content has always been strategic for many platforms. It can be a great opportunity [four us],” she adds.

One year after its official launch, Movistar Plus+ Internacional has rapidly emerged as a driving force in Spanish TV drama sales, scoring standout multi-window deals on key titles. Rodrigo Sorogoyen’s acclaimed drama “Riot Police” was sold, for instance, to HBO in Latin America, ViX in the U.S., Disney + for multiple European territories and the Canal + channel for France. It has also been optioned by the U.K.’s Altitude Television and UGC’s Next Episode in France.

Another banner Movistar Plus+ series, dystopian collective series “Apagón” (“Offworld”), has closed with ViX in the U.S. and Latin America.

Movistar + Internacional is currently advancing on multiple negotiations for new series “La Mesías,” by “Veneno” creators and “Cardo” producers Los Javis.

“We never stopped working with local players. We haven’t only gone with platforms,” Valenzuela notes.

Movistar+ plans to release some 10 TV dramas this year, turning ever more to co-production. “There’s a lot of interest to co-produce with us and for us to share productions. We aim to be more active in this area,” Valenzuela says. 

Having produced the ambitious period series “El Cid,” a Prime Video original, Madrid’s Zebra Producciones, a subsidiary of indie TV company iZen group – part in turn of conglom Newen –  is currently shooting crime thriller “Memento Mori,” exploiting multiple windows with Prime Video retaining non-linear broadcast rights in Spain and Portugal, and regional broadcaster network Forta holding free-to-air rights in Spain.

The iZen Group, through Newen Connect, handles worldwide rights.

The new situation sits well with Onza, which has always bet on building projects grow by incorporating different windows and territories, as occurred on “Little Coincidences,” “Hernán” and “Parot,” the three series involving Prime Video.

The Mediapro Studio is also adapting production models to each client’s needs and nature of content. 

At MipTV, TMS is handling high-profile TV dramas “The Young Poe,” a detective thriller series project based on Cuca Canals’ book series with strong IP and potential to encourage co-viewing, and real-life-inspired period story “Las pelotaris, 1926,” a premium co-production with ViX.

“There are stories where it makes sense for different territories to participate; others are more local but interest worldwide,” Ezpeleta says. In the second group lies Fernando González Molina’s mystery adventure series “Paraíso,” a Movistar Plus+ original produced in collaboration with TMS, acquired by Canal+ in France, Prime Video India, HBO Max for the U.S. and Latin America, CBC/Radio-Canada and Sky in Germany.

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