“Money Heist” is the most-watched non-English series in Netflix history. “The Plague” played on the BBC. “Side Games” was a big hit for DirecTV Latin America. Success can take many shapes. Mexico, Argentina, Colombia and Chile figure as the regular top markets for Spanish TV fiction, though now, standout performances have extended across the U.S. market.
“In recent years, Spanish TV fiction has taken an impressive leap in quality, allowing it to expand to the rest of the world,” says Alejandro Rojas, regional director, Latin America at Parrot Analytics.
It’s also started to appear in other non-traditional markets such as Japan, Greece and Turkey. In the U.S., “Elite” Season 2, produced by Zeta Audiovisual for Netflix, multiplied its demand five times compared to 2018’s original; “Money Heist” Part 3 increased viewings 50% versus earlier installments, according to Parrot Analytics.
“Obviously U.S. productions always have an advantage: The audience prefers to consume content without dubbing, but in practical terms, that has been changing quite dramatically,” he adds.
In April, a female-driven comedy, Leticia Dolera’s Movistar Plus original series “Perfect Life,” topped Canneseries’ but its impact went further, snagging solid sales, handled by Beta Film.
Parrot Analytics uses a tool dubbed “travelability” to compare a series’ reception in its original market with other territories. In this sense, “Perfect Life” was the best Spanish series in terms of “travelability” in the first half of 2019, judged in this case by social-media reaction.
“Perfect Life” bows in Spain in October. “Locked Up,” a prison drama produced by the Mediapro Studio and that was acquired by Amazon Prime Video for the U.S., continues generating strong online demand in many non-traditional markets.
“We are not talking only about two individual hits. There’s a growth in the industry that is being reflected in all these success stories,” Rojas says.
“Spanish producers create TV series that connect with people, with universal values and they know how to use the most universal elements in each story. All these stories that are succeeding transcend the boundaries of Spain. With that vision, they have positioned and differentiated themselves from other content.”
He concludes: “Spanish audiences have high expectations for their fiction TV series and producers need to adapt in order to excel. The standards are high compared to the rest of the world, and that makes Spanish product extremely successful when it travels outside Spain.”