MADRID — As other Spanish companies scurry back to basics, Europroducciones Group is diversifying.
With an increasingly large foot in Italy, the production company made its name in light entertainment and telenovelas.
It will bow a new soap, “Luna Negra,” on Spanish pubcaster RTVE this fall; its production stalwarts, morning magazine “Dia a dia” (26.5% share) and summer primetime gamer “Grand Prix” (26.9%), now in its ninth season, still dominate their timeslots.
Its latest telenovela, “La verdad de Laura,” a loose remake of a 15-year-old Televisa hit, scored a 35% midafternoon share.
But the group is widening its programming girth.
It has placed a reconciliation reality show, “Hay una carta para ti,” at Spanish broadcaster Antena 3 and a Sunday gameshow, “Un domingo cualquiera,” at RTVE; launched a candid camera skein, “Oblivious,” with Mediaset’s Italia 1; and produced a word quiz, “Passa a Palabra,” for Portuguese pubcaster RTP.
Europroducciones also has produced two documentaries — child assassin portrait “Sicarios” and false luxury goods probe “Falsificando el lujo” — and is co-producing miniseries bio “Madre Teresa de Calcuta,” toplining Olivia Hussey, with Italy’s Lux Video.
Having set up Europroduzione in Italy, Portugal’s Protint and Euro TV Produktion in Rumania, it is now eyeing more of Eastern Europe and the U.S. Hispanic market, says prexy Arturo Vega.
Diversification in territorial reach and program type is a luxury that only the largest Southern European TV companies can afford.
It allows Europroducciones to counter differences in national tastes, the vagaries of single markets and the musical chairs of exec appointments.
Also, Europroducciones applies experience gained in one country to produce in another. Having made “What’s Your Bet?” a ratings winner in Spain, the company has now renewed on the Italian version with RAI.
Not always parallel
There’s less common ground or parallel timing in market trends between Spain and Italy than many believe to be the case.
Spain grew jaded of tits-and-ass TV in the mid-1990s; Italy did not.
In Spain, standup comedy boomed from 1997. But Paramount Comedy and production company Globomedia have a lock on top talent and slots.
With standup building several years later in Italy, Europroducciones produced and has now renewed “Assolo” for La 7.
Some 20% of Europroducciones revenues come from international sales. In two years, Vega would like to double turnover and raise that ratio to 50%.
One reason for this is that it’s hard to second-guess new hits in Spain.
Reality event shows “Big Brother” and “Operacion Triunfo” are losing share steam. Domestic fiction rules primetime, but last season’s dramas crashed and burned, save for Telecinco’s middle-of-the road family comedy “Los Serranos.”
“Our strategy is to prioritize creativity and to be as flexible as possible, working for an ever-changing market,” says Vega.
(Nick Vivarelli in Rome contributed to this report.)