Mediaset España, Spain’s top-rated broadcaster, is reinforcing its content strategy with the launch of new brand Mediterráneo to integrate its affiliate production companies, as it unveils a strong TV drama slate for the 2018-19 TV season.

With a €40 million-€50 million ($45.30-$56.60 million) annual investment, ME represents a key pillar for the Spanish TV fiction sector. Currently it has 12 series projects underway, totaling 150 hours of TV drama production.

Newest TV fiction projects takes in Aitor Gabilondo’s “Madres,” Verónica Fernández’s “Caronte,” and Curro Royo and Miguel Angel Fernández’s “Desaparecidos.”

ME’s ambitious TV drama pipeline announcement comes amidst a Spanish TV fiction boom, with a spectacular increase of local series production -from 6 to 14 for the period 2014-17 – and new players such as Movistar + and Netflix aiming respectively around 14 and 12 original series for next year.

The move also comes after Atresmedia, ME’s main rival at the Spanish free-to-air TV market, launched early this year Atresmedia Studios, once consolidated its series brand.

Another proof of Mediaset España’s interest in building its TV drama commitment is the launch of “Showrunner: Aula de Ficción,” a talent showrunner incubator, fruit of a partnership with Barcelona’s prestigious Escac audiovisual school.

Under Mediterráneo, the new organizational structure, ME groups the TV, film and digital production companies in which it owns stakes, encompassing Telecinco Cinema, Megamedia, Supersport, La Fábrica de la Tele, Bulldog, Mandarina, Alma, Melodía Producciones and Alea Media.

In a first stage, Mediterráneo will allow its members to strengthen their access to international formats and to share know-how in 360º projects with further digital partners, optimizing operative costs and human resources.

Mediterráneo will also reinforcement distribution and international sales, taking advantage of Spanish TV fiction’s boom, supplying contents for new platforms.

“We aim to create an one sole distributor for all our product. That fits in with the sweet moment the TV sector is living: there has never been as much production nor much need for content,” said Paolo Vasile, CEO of ME.

Among ME’s newest projects figures “Madres,” a women-focused medical procedural that narrates the daily life in a maternal and child hospital. Starring Belén Rueda and Aida Folch, it is created for Alea Media by Aitor Gabilondo, showrunner of primetime hits such as “El Príncipe” and “Vivir sin permiso.”

Cop/legal TV drama “Caronte,” written by Verónica Fernández, the creator of Netflix series project “Hache,” stars Roberto Álamo (“Estoy vivo”) as a former police officer who embarks on a new life as a criminal lawyer after serving a sentence for a murder he did not commit. Big Bang Media, part of the Mediapro Group, initiates production in upcoming weeks.

“Desaparecidos” turns on a police brigade investigating diverse cases of missing persons. The brigade itself has been hit by the disappearance of people close to its memebers. Juan Echanove, Elvira Mínguez and Maxi Iglesias topline the 13-episode series, set up at César Benítez’s Plano a Plano (“El Príncipe,” “Allí Abajo”), about to go into production.

At the presentation, Manuel Villanueva, ME contents general director, celebrated its large abundance of projects allowing ME to order for the future. Head of fiction Arantxa Écija suggested the broadcast group was looking for “emotions, entertainment but also diversity.”

With “Patria,” Aitor Gabilondo’s adaptation of the same-titled novel as HBO España’s first original series, ME has started to produce for third party SVOD platforms.

It also owns adaptation and production rights to novels “No soy un monstruo,” by Carme Chaparro, adapted by screenwriter Michel Gaztambide (“No Rest for the Wicked”); Sonsoles Ónega’s “Después del amor,” scripted by Helena Medina at Alea Media, and Reyes Monforte’s “La infiel,” produced by Fernando Bovaira’s Mod Producciones.

Its TV fiction slate also takes in six announced projects now in production or even ready to air, such as cop thriller “Brigada Costa del Sol,” fruit of a partnership with Warner Bros. Intl. TV Production España and Netflix.

Melodía is producing produces two projects for ME: ”Los Nuestros 2,” the second installment of successful war drama mini-series, and ”Secretos de Estado,” a political drama that kicks off with an attempted assassination of a major elliptical figure. The subsequent investigation compromise the interests of a government’s president.

Mandarina, another affiliate, is readying “Señoras del (h)ampa,” a black comedy about an accidental killing by a food processor in a parents association.

“El Pueblo” is a vegan comedy created by Alberto Caballero, of TV primetime king series “La que se avecina.” Romantic comedy ”Lontano da te” is a pioneering co-production with Italy’s Mediaset and Cross Productions toplining Megan Montaner and Alessandro Tiberi.

“Our TV fiction has to connect with what is happening in our society. We need to offer fresh productions, being more general entertainment, to be alternative to niche TV contents,” said Vasile, who sees the new SVOD players as “travel companions more than rivals.”

ME is also producing the second season of “Vivir sin permiso,” a Netflix worldwide pickup; the 11th season of “La que se avecina”; and new episodes of Plano a Plano’s suspense drama “La verdad.”

Lazy loaded image