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Movistar +, Telemundo Production Alliance: Five Takes

MIAMI  — Few announcements at a vibrant NATPE Miami trade fair this week are weightier than the strategic multi-year co-production partnership unveiled Thursday between Telemundo Intl. Studios and Movistar +, two of the biggest production players in the Spanish-speaking world, to produce premium limited series for the U.S. and international markets. Following, 5 Takes:

1.A SIGN OF THE TIMES

If the international business at this year’s NATPE had a mantra, it was “production alliance.” In first day’s news flow on Tuesday, Mediapro and Televisa announced a three-year. three series, co-production pact. One day later, Turner Latin America confirmed three series with the Salinas Group’s Dopamine. Multi-series arrangements avoid the need to negotiate title by title at a time when demand for high-end series far outstrips demand.

2.SERVING ONE OF THE WORLD’S BIGGEST BURGEONING LANGUAGE MARKETS

15 years ago, Chinese movies performed better in Latin America than Spanish films. If the success of Atresmedia’s “Grand Hotel,” “Velvet” and “La Casa de Papel” proved anything, it is that Spanish series originals have a huge market in Latin America. Telemundo and Movistar + aim to produce a minimum two series a year, Marcos Santana, president, Telemundo Global Studios – International, told Variety at NATPE.  “The idea is to generate premium drama series which travels between three worlds, Spain, Latin America and the U.S. Hispanic make and achieve a consistency doing so,” he added. There are 500 million Spanish-speakers in the world. Judged by GDP, the U.S. Hispanic market is the seventh biggest economy in the world, he added.

3.THE NAME OF THE GAME – FLEXIBILITY

Under the terms of the deal, Telemundo Network will have the exclusive rights for the U.S., Movistar+ for Spain. There is no guarantee that either partner will release the series themselves. Distribution outside the U.S. and Spain will be decided on a title-by-title basic, said Sergio Oslé, Movistar + president. “The key to the deal is flexibility. Every series is different. They will be distributed or sold in order to achieve the best market performance possible,” he added. With the sector still in vertiginous transition, propelled in part by the dramatic growth and now new launch of OTT platform’s- Movistar + itself is a pay TV/SVOD service – that’s seems a necessary logic.

4.A MEETING OF LIKE MINDS

Movistar + and Telemundo aims to announce a first series in the partnership in the coming months, said Santana.  But they are under no pressure to rush a series into production, he added. “Development is key.” If one thing distinguishes Movistar + in its first 18 months of operations, from its launch of “Velvet Collection,” it’s its emphasis on development, allowing creative talent to work up to several years on projects, until they’re really ready. That’s making a virtue out of a necessity. Such is the brevity of limited series these days, that it’s no longer possible to tinker with storylines after a series has gone into production.

5.THE POTENTIAL

Dedicated to producing short format scripted series, Telemundo Intl. Studios forms part of NBCUniversal Telemundo Enterprises. Movistar + parent Telefonica posted €52 billion ($59 billion) in revenues in 2017. Total Movistar TV, mobile and fixed broadband customers amounted to 200 million in Latin America mid last year.

“Our firm commitment to original fiction production has allowed us, during the last year, to reinforce our leadership in Spain and strengthen our position in Latin America,” Osle commented.

He added: “The agreement that we present today will allow both companies to grow in scale, conquering new markets and combining the best capabilities for the development of quality fiction in Spanish “

“These are two heavyweights in the Spanish-speaking world – Telemundo is the only big producer in the U.S. Hispanic market – which are partnering for the first time, said Santana. “Around the deal is an enormous range of opportunities for the future. It’s a natural association.”

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