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MIP: Spanish TV Veterans Use New Media to Grab Bigger Audiences

RTVE’s talent contest “Operación Triunfo,” a long-term local entertainment format, sprang back to life last year — 16 years after its debut — thanks in part to its reinvention as a transmedia program.

“OT,” Created and produced by Endemol Shine Iberia’s Gestmusic, returned to Spanish TV after six years in 2017.

Airing October through February, it averaged a strong 19% share and 2.4 million viewers for RTVE’s La1 weekly in primetime, compared to the channel’s 11% February share.

The final gala (31%; 4 million viewers) was won by Pamplona-born Amaia, singing M-Clan’s “Miedo” and David Bowie’s “Starman.”

“OT’s” standout performance allowed TVE to rejuvenate its audience and strengthen its brand as an innovative operator.

Some “OT” transmedia milestones include 30 million visits to its app for voting; 85 million visualizations on its 24-hour online channel; 375 million for official content on YouTube; and the show’s constant presence as a trending topic. In February, of 12.5 million tweets about TV programs in Spain, 73% belonged to “OT.”

TVE’s skill in handling transmedia strategy, previously shown in scripted series “The Department of Time,” attracted hordes of younger viewers to the talent show’s primetime finale.

“They scored on how to translate the transmedia world into a pure and simple TV show,” says Gloria Saló at Producciones Mandarina.

In March, another oldie but goldie, Gestmusic talent format “Tu cara me suena,” ended its sixth season with a 20.3% share and 2.7 million eyeballs, leading Friday primetime for Atresmedia’s Antena 3. The format was also sold internationally, including to the U.S., where it ran on ABC in 2014 for six episodes.

The worldwide expansion of SVOD and other OTT distribution platforms is also fueling entertainment format demand.

In Spain, Telefonica’s leading paybox Movistar Plus is re-versioning reality show “Fama a bailar” after airing “El Puente” from Endemol Shine’s Zeppelin TV.

“Spain’s TV market has always demanded entertainment programs, but networks [tend to look] for formats already tested in big markets,” says Mediapro’s Javier Méndez.

Two years ago, Mediapro tapped Israeli creative Ran Telem and teamed with Madrid-based Phileas to grow in the non-scripted arena. Its format “Ovo” was optioned by France’s Lagardère Studios and Good Times in Germany.

Mediapro has also struck an alliance with MGM Worldwide TV Distribution on formats such as “Married 10.”

“Some entertainment TV formats created in Spain are traveling, but the international market is dominated by big entertainment TV players,” Saló says.

Partly owned by Mediaset España, Producciones Mandarina created and produced cooking contest “Mi madre cocina mejor que la tuya,” sold by FremantleMedia to more than 30 countries. Aired by Cuatro in Spain in 2014, the format has been renewed.

As free-to-air broadcasters need to adjust budgets, entertainment formats help minimize risks and accelerate development. Experts say that there is still room for new entertainment TV shows.

“There is a deficit of content formats in many genres in the international market,” says Javier Pérez de Silva at Madrid-based Señor Mono, a new TV formats and fiction company run by former executives at La Competencia, a long-term partner of Mexico’s Televisa in TV format creation and distribution.

Eyeing the international unscripted format business, Jan Mojto’s Beta recently acquired an undisclosed minority stake in Señor Mono.

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