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Mediapro at 25: Timeline 1994-2019

Editorial use only. No book cover
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April 1994 As Spanish TV stations increasingly out-house services, Jaume Roures and Gerard Romy found Mediapro, with Taxto Benet’s encouragement, renting an office in Barcelona’s Sarria-district Riu de l’Or to organize the Andorra Intl. Jazz Festival.

Oct. 1994: From the near get-go, Medaipro begins handling sport event production and rights, starting with boxing, tennis and especially basketball.

Oct. 1997: Mediapro pacts with Telefonica to provide satellite uplink services.

Dec. 1997: Company’s first TV show, Andalucia Directo, a daily magazine on Canal Sur.

Dec. 1998: Mediapro’s pact with Audiovisual Sport to handle international rights to Spanish league soccer matches.

July 1999: Canal Barca and Real Madrid TV, dedicated soccer club channels, launch with Mediapro backing.

Oct. 1999: Mediapro buys its first mobile units.

June 2000: A former head of Audiovisual Sports, an Atresmedia, TVC co-venture, Tatxo Benet creates his own company which now merges with Mediapro.

Sept. 2000: Mediapro produces six channels covering the Sydney Olympics for Spanish satcaster Via Digital.

Nov. 2000: A beach-head in the Persian Gulf, and esatblishes relations with Al Jazeera.

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Oct. 2002: Prrstigious TV, commercials house Ovideo integrated into Mediapro.

2002: Mediapro co-produces Oliver Stone’s Fidel Castro docu-portrait “Comandante.” Our first collaboration with a great director of large international repercussion,” says Javier Pons, The Mediapro Studio’s head of TV.

2002: “Mondays in the Sun,” a homage to the resilience of Spain’s unemployed, wins San Sebastian’s Golden Seashell. “It marked the kind of cinema we wanted to make, films we were comfortable with, but big hits as well.”

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2005: Made with Pedro Almodovar’s El Deseo, Isabel Coixet’s “The Secret Life of Words” gives further vindication of to Mediapro’s talent-driven model.”The beginning of an excellent relationship with Isabel Coixet,” says Pons.

March 2006: Mediapro and Globomedia launch La Sexta. “For the first time pretty well ever, some producers create a channel, and it was viable, until Spain’s recession,” comments Roures. Buying rights to the 2006 soccer World Cup, it persuades Spaniards to upgrade their set to watch the channel.

July 2006: Mediapro, Globomedia merge, creating Imagina Media Audiovisual, Spain’s largest independent production-services-distribution company.

2006: Mediapro begins to buy up TV rights to Spanish soccer clubs, facing off with Prisa-controlled Audiovisual Sport.

April 2008: Company moves to its current H.Q. in Barcelona’s new high-tech 22@ district on its Diagonal thoroughfare.

Sept. 2008: Mediapro launches Gol Television, which broadcasts on DTT through June 2015.

Feb. 2009: Penelope Cruz becomes the first Spanish actress to win an Oscar, tanks to Woody Allen’s “Vicky Cristina Barcelona”

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Oct. 2009: Imagina US opens in Miami.

June 2010: Owed an estimated €90 million ($101 million) by Sogecable, Mediapro seeks protection from creditors after a Madrid court orders it to pay Audiovisual Sport €104 million ($116.5 million) for breach of contract over soccer rights. The ruling is eventually overturned.

May 2011: Sony Pictures Classics opens Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris,” co-produced by Mediapro, in the U.S.  It grosses $56.8 million, his highest domestic tally ever.

Dec. 2011 Mediapro emerges from protection from creditors.

October 2012: Imagina Media Audiovisual sells La Sexta to far larger Spanish network group Atresmedia via a share swap which gave it 4% of Atresmedia,” “La Sexta created a brand, had a faithful audience, and temporarily reached breakeven,” says Benet. But it’s revenue were decimated by a 50% plunge TV advertising market during recession.

2014: Owning Spanish and international rights to LaLiga,  Mediapro snags Formula One rights in Spain for seven years

April 2015: “Vis a Vis” (“Locked Up”) bows on Atresmedia. It goes on to become the first Spanish series to air on the U.K.’s Channel 4, Amazon Prime U.S. and Japan’s Hulu,  Pons notes.

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June 2016: Sports channel Gol launches.

July 1 2015 Owned by Qatar’s beIN Media Group, and operated by Mediapro, beIN Sports Spain channel bouquet begins broadcasting, offering UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League games, among other soccer rights.

2016: Telefonica pays €2.4 billion ($2.7 billion) to Mediapro for European Champions League and Spanish LaLiga games over 2016-17 to 2018-19.

Sept. 2016: Paolo Sorrentino’s Jude Law starrer “The Young Pope” world premieres at the Venice Festival, “the beginning of a strategic change of direction in international production,” says The Mediapro Studio chief content officer Javier Méndez. Mediapro’s first big international TV series, produced for HBO, Canal Plus, Sky Italia, goes on to sell to 110 countries.

Feb. 2017 Mediapro takes a majority stake in Daniel Burman’s  Buenos Aires-based development-production house Burman Office.

Feb. 2018 Chinese private equity firm Orient Hontai Capital takes a majority 53.5% stake in Imagina Media Audiovisual, buying out minority shareholders including Mexico’s Televisa. Roures and Benet maintain their 12% stakes.

Sept. 2018: CBS puts into development drama “Far Rockaway,” written by David Wilcox (CBS’ “Bull”), based on “Estoy Vivo.”

March 2019: Mediapro unveils The Mediapro Studio.

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