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BTF Media, Sony Music Spain Set Isabel Pantoja, Joaquín Sabina Bioseries (EXCLUSIVE)

CANCUN, Mexico — Marking one of the biggest news announcements likely to go down at this year’s MipCancun, BTF Media and Sony Music Spain have inked a strategic content production alliance.

In a first move, Sony Music Spain will board a bioseries on Spanish music legend Isabel Pantoja currently set up at BTF Media. In a second, heralding a new production, BTF Media, Sony Music Spain and Mexico’s Endemol Shine Boomdog will co-produce a bioseries on famed Spanish writer-singer Joaquín Sabina.

Both the series range over their subjects’ whole lives. The Isabel Pantoja series is conceived as a 13-episode single season, Sabina’s as two seasons, said Oriol Uria, BTF Media, EP and founder. Manuel Rios (“Maradona, la mano di Dio” “Raphael: una historia de superación personal”) is heading up the writers’ team on the Sabina bioseries.

The announcement was made Wednesday at MipCancun by José María Barbat and Sergi Reitg, respectively president and contents director at Sony Music Spain, and BTF founder-CEO Francisco Cordero and founder-EP Oriol Uría.

The deal marks the first Spanish productions of BTF Media and the first ever of Sony Music Spain.

Some sort of association between the two companies was inevitable: Pantoja and Sabina have had deals at Sony Music for years.

But the production pact sees Sony Music España not only licensing song rights for the series but stepping in as a fully-fledged co-producer, the first time it has taken an equity position on a film or TV series, rather than licensing rights.

“Sony Music Spain can bring an a roster of national recording artists to the deal,” said Sergi Reitg, Sony Music Spain media content director.

“Apart from music rights, we can bring the link with the Sony Music recording artist which allows us to offer the artist an additional service from Sony Music, something which hasn’t happened to date with record companies in Spain,” said Barbat.

Investment means a larger share in upside at a  time when bioseries – think “Luis Miguel: La Serie” this year – are hitting big ratings or proving social phenomena among Latino audiences.

Much is made on the potential for music and film-TV content synergies. BTF Media has walked the walk. “BTF Media has demonstrated its  production expertise and success in this series type, which it can now offer our artists,” Barbat said.

The strategic alliance follows the runaway success of some bioseries – such as Juan Gabriel life story “Hasta que te conocí,” produced by Disney Media Distribution Latin America, BTF Media, Somos Productions and Juan Gabriel Production, with BTF Media handling the physical production.

Bioseries, or variants such as true crime thriller “El secreto de Selena,” teaming Disney and BTF Media once more, now form one of the biggest new building trends on the new Spanish-language TV landscape.

The 13-part Isabel Pantoja series looks set to turn on the sometimes dramatic life of the Spanish singer who gave a new leash of life to Spanish coplas, broadened her repertory to ballads and more modern pop, married a famed bullfighter, who died in the ring, became a social icon of artistic triumph, womanhood and suffering.

One of Spain’s most famous cantautors and a consummate and literate songwriter whose songs have been set to a hugely varied register of styles – sung with many of the most-regarded voices on the Spanish-language music scene, from Chavela Vargas to Juan Manuel Serrat, the literate lyrics tensed by themes of marginalization and melancholy – Sabina had to wait until his 12th album, “19 Days and 500 Nights,” catapulted him to huge fame and broader audiences.

“Alliances these days must be more organic, covering 360º markets. Having a partner who can contribute not only the music, but the artist and their stories and collaboration in promotion, which is very natural and gives series a large drive,” added Francisco Cordero, BTF Media founder-CEO. “The partnership adds value throughout the value chain,” he added.

“Having an artist via a record company makes things clearer and allows a more global approach for the artist themselves. It’s a win-win not only for the record company and producer but also the recording artist,” Uria concurred, adding that Sabina to date is having an active input on the series which could mark a before-and-after in terms of artists’ contribution.

“Given that many of Sabina’s songs have an autobiographical edge, the contribution Sabina can make to a series is extraordinary,” Cordero added.

One example, given by Uría: In a preparatory meeting for the series, Sabina talked about and the sung the song which he said, summed up his whole life: “Ni tan viejo, ni tan joven.”

Both TV fiction titles are scheduled to release in 2020. The Sony-BTF alliance will produce mainly bioseries but also entertainment formats, often inspired by Sony Music Spain’s roster of artists.

Founded in 2010 by Francisco Cordero and Ricardo Coeto, Mexico’s BTF Media teamed last year with Barcelona-based commercials production outfit Garage Films, run by brothers Oriol and Albert Uría, to create BTF Spain as the company’s European beachhead.

A dedicated Latin America TV sales and ever more co-production market, MipCancun runs Nov. 14-16.

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