The new production company will be based in Fuencarral, northern Madrid, just a few miles from Netflix’s soon-to-open European production hub. It will be overseen by Javier Méndez as chief content officer and by Laura Fernández Espeso and Javier Pons as its joint heads of TV. Mediapro co-founder Jaume Roures and partner Tatxo Benet will serve as its presidents.
The productions going through The Mediapro Studio span titles with HBO, Canal Plus and Sky Italia (“The New Pope”), Disney (“Cazadores de Milagros”), DirecTV Latin America (“Todo por el juego”), Viacom Intl. Studios (“Noobees”), Turner Latin America (“Las Bravas” ), Vice (“Border Republic”) and Amazon Prime Video, which has acquired “Caronte,” produced for Mediaset España.
Other production partners include Mexico’s Televisa (“Unwanted,” “Stroke”), Italy’s Palomar (“270 Days”), Sweden’s Dramacorp (“The Head”), Finland’s YLE (“The Paradise”) and Argentina’s Artear, Polka and Cablevision (which are working on an untitled political thriller).
A half-dozen or so new Mediapro Studio drama series, some involving leading U.S. producers of high-end original series, are expected to be announced over the next few months. The Mediapro Studio will oversee production at 11 of the 56 Mediapro offices around the world that are producing content, including those in Madrid, Miami, London, Paris, Mexico City, Buenos Aires, Bogotá, Santiago de Chile, Lisbon and Dubai. The new studio operation will also take in Mediapro’s slate of 27 unscripted shows.
The Mediapro Studio marks the latest expansionist move by the Mediapro Group, whose core businesses also include sports rights brokering and services.
In 2016, it absorbed Globomedia, Spain’s biggest scripted series producer. Last year, Mediapro unveiled “Dry Run,” a drama series project with “The Wire’s” David Simon, about the Spanish Civil War’s Abraham Lincoln Brigade. It also caused waves by outbidding Canal Plus to rights to France’s Ligue 1 soccer matches over 2020-24. And earlier this month, Mediapro announced that it would produce the next film from Woody Allen.
In all, The Mediapro Studio has 200 fiction titles, series and movies being written, in production or on the air. It currently employs 165 scriptwriters and 126 directors, said Roures.
“We have global production operations. Now we have a global brand,” said Benet, who is confident that the studio will attract talent through its scale and international reach.
Roures said that Mediapro’s spectacular increase in production is a reaction to the huge demand for high-end series not only from new streaming platforms but also established players.
The studio unveiling also coincides with a change in Mediapro’s production model, Benet added. Previously, it produced series in Spain which were fully financed by Spanish free-to-air networks. But encouraged by results on such series as “Vis a Vis“ Seasons 3 and 4, which sold to Fox Networks Group in Spain, it now “teams on titles with predominantly international partners from the get-go, seeking to co-produce when possible and retain part of IP or initiating its own original productions.”
Mediapro’s 2017 revenues stood at €1.65 billion ($1.9 billion), with €189 million ($214 million) EBITDA operating profits. The company is backed by Chinese private equity firm Orient Hontai Capital.