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Spain’s Atresmedia Studios Bows With Movistar+ Original Series ‘El Embarcadero’

Vancouver Media's Alex Pina, showrunner of heist drama 'La Casa de Papel,' a Netflix hit, is attached to the project

Atresmedia Studios Bows With Movistar+ Original
RAFAEL BRAVO

The rapidly burgeoning Spanish TV fiction sector added a powerful new player this week – Atresmedia Studios, which announced its first big TV drama project at a spectacular launch party in Madrid: “El Embarcadero,” created for Telefonica’s Movistar+, Spain’s leading pay TV operator.

Part of the DeaPlaneta-controlled media conglom Atresmedia, the studio marks a pioneering bet for Spain’s TV fiction sector. Also, the Atresmedia Studios-Movistar+ alliance is an early play in a new era in Spain that will likely see free- and pay-TV operators forge new alliances, including producing big-budget TV dramas with local issues but international ambitions, in order to meet the challenge of OTT giants.

Atresmedia Studios will create and design exclusive TV fiction content for both new TV operators, and new distribution and exhibition platforms in Spain and abroad, in line with further recent international initiatives such as Mexico’s Dopamine, the high-end production label unveiled by TV Azteca at Mipcom, which is teaming with Sony.

Atresmedia boasted healthy 13.5% net profit margins of €142.1 million ($176.2 million). That said, with the studio, the Atresmedia group is looking to diversify at a time where the growing weakness of many TV ad markets in the world suggests that this core business of the free-to-air TV sector cannot look for midterm growth, forcing big players to redesign strategies.

“Atresmedia Studios is the result of a strategy launched many years ago that has placed content at the center of our business,” Atresmedia CEO Silvio González said Tuesday night at the Madrid launch party. Also present were top Spanish TV stars as well some of the most important producers on the Spanish TV scene.

For years, the company has consolidated its scripted drama production as a recognizable brand in the international market – especially in Latin America – also backed by the launch in 2014 of TV drama channel Atresseries.

Recent milestones in Atresmedia’s fiction series international career include a Netflix global hit, heist thriller “La Casa de Papel,” with Vancouver Media’s showrunner Alex Pina, and the order by ABC of a pilot series production, executive produced by Eva Longoria, to adapt Bambú-created melodrama “Grand Hotel,” an Atresmedia audience hit in Spain.

Last year, Atresmedia greenlit with Movistar+ the production of Bambú’s melodrama “Velvet Collection,” a Movistar Original Series sequel to Atresmedia smash hit “Velvet,” becoming last fall one of the most popular TV dramas on Movistar +’s pay TV/SVOD service. Movistar+ is revolutionizing Spain’s fiction TV sector with an ambitious plan of at least 11 original series releases a year.

“Atresmedia Studios develops and produces series for national operators and multinational platforms. We are talking about 50-minute [episodes] projects,” said Atresmedia Studios CEO Ignacio Corrales.

He added that Atresmedia Studios will invest in projects specifically developed for each operator and, like any studio, will be project accelerators, which Atresmedia Studios will assemble, exploit and finance.

Atresmedia Studios will be in charge of the creation, design and production of “El embarcadero,” the new Movistar + Original Series. The deal confirms the close relationship between the paybox and Atresmedia. For this project, the studio counts on executive producer Alex Pina.

TV drama “El embarcadero” is set in the present day, featuring two women whose destinies cross and intertwine after the sudden death of the man with whom they separately shared their lives.