×

Telefonica, Atresmedia to Create Content Factory Behemoth

SAN SEBASTIAN  — In a game-changing move for Spanish-language production Telefonica, Europe’s third biggest telco, and Atresmedia, the original co-creators of “La Casa de Papel,” are uniting to create a new joint contents production giant.

Aimed at gaining more scale and uniting talent relations – writers, directors and producers – the 50/50 joint venture will produce both series and feature films, focusing on fiction, the new partners announced Friday.

The partners have taken the first move towards the creation of the new production force, signing  framework agreement, they added.

Both a product and distribution alliance, the new contents factory will look to bring in further co-production partners on many projects and create titles for third partner companies.

The agreement, which has to be approved by a Telefonica commission, was sealed by Atresmedia CEO Silvio Rodríguez and Emilio Gayo, president of Telefonica Spain.

The move has been made to face off with global streaming platform, established and set to launch, making the partners “more competitive to face up to large international players which continue to emerging in a globalized sector,” the partners said in a written statement Friday.

Atresmedia and Telefonica, via Atresmedia Studios and Telefonica’s pay TV unit Movistar in Spain, have already linked to produce “The Pier,” created by “La Casa de Papel’s” Alex Pina and Esther Martínez Lobato. The new agreement will take their collaboration to another level, however.

Thanks to a massive statement buy of soccer rights, both LaLiga and Champions League, Movistar is Spain’s No. 1 content player, investing €841.1 million ($925.2 million) in programming this year, according to IHS Markit estimates. Atresmedia ranks third, with a €607.3 million ($668.0 million) investment.

For Telefonica, the Atresmedia alliance goes a long way to furthering its strategic goals as it faces off with a far larger number of global competitors.

One priority, Sergio Oslé, Movistar Plus president, told Variety earlier this month, is to “take bold steps in gaining scale more rapidly by collaborating more closely with both international and local content providers.”

Another is to “experiment more purposefully on different windows, especially (but not only) for movies.”

“As an industry we haven’t quite figured out the optimal release time for each screen,” he added. “In Movistar+, we’ve been very rigid when it comes to windows. Should we release movies or even series in cinemas? Should we consider a free-to-air window at some point?”

Partnering with Atresmedia, Telefonica now has the opportunity for joint series to play on the broadcast network’s free-to-air and SVOD services in Spain plus possibly its cable network in Latin America, the biggest of any company in Europe.

For Atresmedia, producer of multiple milestone Spanish series which have already grown audiences for Spanish series abroad -“Grand Hotel,” “Velvet,” “Vis-a-Vis” (“Locked Up”) –  the agreement will allow it to ramp up scale as top players are producing at ever higher production ambition – evident in Netflix’s “La Casa de Papel” Part 3, which is set in three continents, and boasts a far more full-on action impact compared to the first two parts.

More Film

  • First still from the set of

    Composer Michael Giacchino on Setting the Right Tone for 'Jojo Rabbit'

    Michael Giacchino is a widely respected film composer, with an Oscar and a Grammy for “Up” and an Emmy for “Lost,” as well as a Grammy for “Ratatouille.” He is stirring up Oscar buzz again with his score for Fox Searchlight’s “Jojo Rabbit,” written and directed by Taika Waititi. Giacchino talked with Variety about the [...]

  • Michael Giacchino Film Composer

    How the 'Jojo Rabbit' Production Team Created a Child's View of Nazi Germany

    When picturing Nazi Germany during World War II, most people think of black-and-white or sepia-toned images of drab cities. For the cinematographer and production designer of “Jojo Rabbit,” a film set squarely in that time and place, it became clear that the color palette of the era was far more varied than they could have [...]

  • Robert Duvall (Oberst Kilgore)

    Studiocanal Steps Up its Heritage Game in Germay Via Arthaus Classics

    LYON, France – Continuing its devotion to heritage film in Germany, Studiocanal is bringing classic movies back into cinemas while also releasing newly restored DVD/Blu-ray collections of beloved titles. The leading producer-distributor enjoyed a major hit this summer with the one-day re-release of Francis Ford Coppola’s “Apocalypse Now: Final Cut,” which scored 12,000 admissions in [...]

  • Dewanda Wise Captain Marvel

    'Jurassic World 3' Casts DeWanda Wise in Leading Role (EXCLUSIVE)

    DeWanda Wise, best known for her breakout role in Netflix’s “She’s Gotta Have It,” has landed a leading role in the third installment of Universal Pictures and Amblin Entertainment’s “Jurassic World” saga. She joins Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard, who will reprise their roles from the previous films, as well as Sam Neill, Laura [...]

  • awkwafina-taron-egerton-split

    Awkwafina, Taron Egerton Get Santa Barbara Fest Salute

    The 35th Santa Barbara Intl. Film Festival will honor Awkwafina, Taron Egerton, Florence Pugh and Taylor Russell with Virtuoso Awards on Saturday, Jan. 18. The quartet mark the first wave of recipients of honorees at the festival. The four actors are being saluted for their 2019 work, including “The Farewell,” “Rocketman,” “Midsommar,” and “Waves,” respectively. The festival [...]

  • NEZHA Chinese Movie

    Animation Is Film Festival Spotlights Some of China's Top Toons

    Over the summer, “Ne Zha,” the first 3D Chinese-produced animated feature released in Imax theaters, did something no one expected. It has grossed $700 million and instantly signaled the arrival of Chinese animation as an international creative force. The blockbuster is part of the lineup of the Animation Is Film Festival, which runs Oct. 18-20 [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content