Transmedia, Interactive Series ‘Si Fueras Tu’ Makes Online Waves for Spain’s RTVE

Executive produced by Isabel Raventós at Atomis Media, web series adapts Emmy-winning format

Transmedia Series 'Si Fueras Tu' Makes
Gabriel Anton

MADRID  — Pubcaster RTVE’s webseries “Si fueras tu,” a Spanish adaptation of Intl. Emmy winning format “Reservoir Hill,” has become a pioneering transmedia and interactive production for Spanish TV fiction.

Available online from September via RTVE’s digital platform Playz, webseries’ eight episodes lured over three million views and scored massive tracking on social networks, including some 70,000 followers on Instagram.

Closing the circle on Dec. 8, RTVE’s core channel La 1 aired in a late-night slot a 80-minute TV movie which combined the eight episodes plus unseen footage, adding 567,000 eyeballs to its global audience results.

Exec produced by well-known Spanish TV executive Isabel Raventós at Atomis Media, the psychological thriller series has achieved two major goals for the public broadcaster: Rejuvenation of its audience; strengthening its brand as an innovative company.

Driven by La 1 programming, RTVE mainly attracts +64 aged TV audiences. 71% of “Si fueras tu” online audience, however, was under 34-year-old.

As a public TV service, another of RTVE’s aims is to back innovative format projects.

For 20 years, Atomis Media co-founder Sergi Schaaff has directed for RTVE’s La 2 flagship quiz-contest “Saber y ganar,” Spain’s longest-running show, where Atomis has already implemented interactive technology.

In a transition time between linear and non-linear TV, with “Si fueras tu,” Atomis has for the first time taken on interactivity in a fiction arena.

“Webseries formats allow you to test and try to innovate,” Raventós said.

“Si fueras tu” involved viewers who not only decided how each episode’s plot must go on, but also established a close relationship with characters and writers through their continuous presence on social networks.

When RTVE uploaded every new chapter, the followers ‘entered’ into it. Once each 10-minute webisode was finished, an online survey allowed viewers to collaborate with the characters in decision making, marking the next episode’s plot, which rolled only one day after the voting closed.

“It is great to work for conventional TV, but you have to think that there is an audience that no longer consumes TV as it was traditionally done. Now they want to choose what they want to see and when they want to see it,” Raventós said.

“Also, we have discovered that there is an audience that wants to participate a lot. We need to create more projects in that line,” she added.

Created by Thomas Robins and David Stubbs at KHF Media, “Reservoir Hill,” the original series, broadcast on New Zealand’s network TVZN and won a 2010 Intl. Emmy Award in the children and young people category.

Taking advantage of a rapid technological progress, “Si fueras tu” was highlighted at The Wit’s prestige Fresh TV Fiction showcase at Cannes’ Mipcom trade fair in October.

Directed by Joaquín Llamas, whose credits include Mediaset España-Filmax TV drama “I Know Who You Are,” the web series toplines young actors María Pedraza (pictured) and Oscar Casas.

“Si fueras tu” tells the story of Alba, a 17-year-old Spanish girl who moves with her uncle to a housing development, looking for a new life. Her parents have moved to work in New Zealand, but she has to finish her school year in Spain.

However, as soon as she arrives at the institute, she realizes that it will not be so easy to adapt because of her striking resemblance to Cris, a girl who disappeared just half a year ago.

The webseries fits into a recent attempt by RTVE to reach younger audiences which includes a strong presence of social networking in programming design – as is also happening in the current edition of La 1’s primetime hit talent show “Operación Triunfo.”

“Even within entertainment, it is necessary to evolve towards the use of technology in more interactive forms that allow transmedia developments,” Raventós said.

“Look at what happening in the international market. There is a remarkable development in the fiction area and a trend of investigating and innovating by introducing interactivity,” she added.

A former general director at Endemol Spain and Latin America, head of new programming and development at Mediaset’s Telecinco, and RTVE’s deputy director, among other responsibilities, Raventós, alongside Atomis Media partner Schaaf, continues at the frontline of Spanish TV, exploring innovative contents and targeting young TV audiences, the most elusive for conventional TV players.