MADRID — Fulfilling industry expectations, Amazon Prime Video has closed TV series deals with all three of Spain’s biggest free-to-air networks: Commercial broadcasters Mediaset España and Atresmedia and public TV operator Radio Televisión Española (RTVE).
All announced on Thursday, but struck maybe months ago in some cases, the deals sees Amazon following a strategy practiced in other major territories such as Mexico of tying down acquisition content deals with a territory’s biggest content owners in a first step towards localizing its service for national viewers. That localization is necessary for both commercial and political reasons.
Most deals are for, however, not just for Spain but also Latin America and, on occasions, the U.S. Hispanic market.
The line-up of series tied down is impressive in volume and individual titles: 15 recent series from Mediaset España, including Filmax’s “I Know Who You Are” (pictured) and Plano a Plano’s “The Prince”; at least seven Atresmedia Series, taking in again some of its greatest recent scripted series hits such as “The Time in Between,” “Velvet” and “Locked Up”; and 11 series from RTVE, featuring ratings successes such as “Estoy vivo” and “Isabel.”
Most deals look like non-exclusive second-window pay TV arrangements. On select upcoming series, however, Amazon Prime Videohas acquired a first pay TV window immediately after the broadcasters’ transmissions, such as on “Mediaset España’s suspense drama “La Verdad,” from Plano a Plano, and also on Atresmedia’s small town thriller “Matadero,” from Diagonal TV, and “Presunto Culpable,” a Basque Country-set psychological thriller produced by Boomerang TV. The last two deals will be in exclusivity, Atresmedia said in a press statement.
“Outside of its core territories of the U.S., Germany, U.K. and Japan, Amazon Prime Video has a relatively slim on-demand catalog, compared to competitors, such as in Spain, Movistar +, Netflix or Rakuten TV,” said Richard Broughton, at Ampere Analysis.
He added: “There are two ways of increasing the size of the catalog. One is to strike more global licensing deals, and Amazon Prime Video is doing that; the other, which may help with local appeal, is to strike more deals with local producers and distributors.”
Amazon Prime Video is likely to pursue a similar strategy in larger markets where it has a retail operation and a considerable population to sell subscriptions to, Broughton said.
The deals give Spanish broadcasters incremental revenues and popularizes their biggest plays in key international territories.
One large question, however, is just how long ad-driven Spanish broadcasters will continue to deal with OTT platforms which are, in a longer term future, potential competitors for audiences. This may be especially important in territories such as Spain where commercial broadcasters are still highly TV ad dependent.
For the moment, however, Amazon deals such as Thursday’s in Spain are “useful to stabilize revenues in a fairly volatile advertising markets,” Broughton said. The current deals are moreover made with an OTT platform which still has to establish a considerable foothold in Spain and the licensing pacts take in not only Spain but Latin America, a territory that does not endanger core ad revenues.