MADRID — Following months of reported negotiations, The Mediapro Studio, the production-distribution powerhouse launched by Spain’s Mediapro Group this March, has acquired Andreu Buenafuente’s Barcelona-based El Terrat, Spain’s premier comedy brand.
No price was given for the acquisition, which involves 100% of El Terrat shares.
El Terrat founder owner and “Late Motiv” host Andreu Buenafuente will continue to head up El Terrat under TMS ownership, with Agustí Esteve remaining as executive director.
For The Mediapro Studio, the purchase represents its latest milestone talent deal, its having already incorporated creatives such as “Homeland” executive producer Ran Tellem, Argentine film-director.turned TV show runner Daniel Burman (“Lost Embrace”) and “The Department of Time” co-creator Javier Olivares.
The deal gives The Mediapro Studio access to Spain’s biggest comedy force in terms of profile, talent, and production capacity. Comedy creatives at El Terrat include Andreu Buenafuente himself, the embodiment of late-night humor for upscale Spaniards, whose monologues on “Late Motiv” strike a note of tolerant bemusement at current events, often political in nature, contrasting with the acrid confrontation of contemporary Spain.
Other El Terrat comedians take in longtime collaborator Berto Romero, creator of sitcom “Mira lo que has hecho,” a fresh take on parenting and hit on top Spanish pay TV/SVOD platform Movistar Plus, David Broncano, the fast-talking 30-something host of late late-night show “La Resistencia,” as well as Quequé, presenter of comedic news show “LocoMundo”, comedian Raul Cimas, a “Late Motiv” and “LocoMundo” regular, and popular film-TV actress and impersonator Silvia Abril (“Padre no hay más que uno”).
El Terrat’s current or recent production slate features nine TV shows on air, due to return or in pre-production; plus three radio programs, six theater productions, a comedy festival, Singlot, now in its sixth year, and two podcasts.
It may not own much IP on some of those shows but the key to the Mediapro-Terrat deal lies in the steady return from a now firmly-established domestic base in Spain and the international potential of El Terrat to export its shows – the original or its formats plus talent, via either international co-production or straight sales.
The buy comes as major platforms, so major producers, are setting out to provide a full range of entertainment to consumers, functioning as quasi TV services. It’s no coincidence that four El Terrat’s flagships – “Late Motiv,” “La Resistencia,” “LocoMundo,”“Mira lo que has hecho” – all screen on Movistar Plus, Spain’s top pay TV/SVOD service.
The Mediapro Studio has worked or is working with near all the global platforms, or their companies, co-producing, for instance, the Sky Atlantic/HBO/Canal Plus series “The Young Pope” and “The New Pope,” and producing “All or Nothing,” Emmy Winner “Six Dreams” and “The Dinner of a Lifetime” for Amazon Prime Video. Other TMS titles include series with, of U.S. companies, Disney, DirecTV, Viacom, Vice and Turner, with which it has a multi-year production partnership.
For El Terrat, forming part of the The Mediapro Studio – which has 34 fiction series in various stages of production this year, while parent Mediapro Group has 36 offices around the world, – the purchase also marks a potentially powerful next step-up in scale for a company which has helped to take Spain into a modern comedy age.
Andreu Buenafuente’s national consecration in Spain came from 2005, hosting late-night talkshow “Buenafuente,” a first-season sensation that gently busted taboos ribbing, for instance, the royal family, and described by Buenafuente himself as “U.S. style fabrication with a Latino soul.” Its sophistication caused him to be dubbed in Spain as a “Latino Letterman.”
Steadily growing its production roster, El Terrat has always yearned to innovate on an international playing field, being briefly bought by France’s Banijay Entertainment in 2009, until reported divergence of production strategy sparked a buy-back by Buenafuente some three months later.
The new Mediapro deal will now give El Terrat the financial backing, distribution, and production contacts, capacity and formats to address its international expansion.
It comes as the comedy scene has once more evolved, platforms and established pay TV services in Latin America rapidly adding upscale comedy acts to their offer or grids, such as “Chumel con Chumel Torres” on HBO Latin America. YouTube channel “Backdoor,” a Mexican version of Viacom-owned online comedy skit show Porta dos Fundos in Brazil, ran up a first million subscribers in four months this year.