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San Sebastian: Spain’s SVOD Players Debate Competition, Brand, Talent

SAN SEBASTIAN  — Executives from HBO, Netflix, Amazon and Movistar+ and “Elite” co-creator Darío Madrona took to the stage to field questions on the Global Impact of Spanish Series. Here, briefly, are five takeaways:

1.Spain First

“La Casa de Papel” was watched by 34,355,956 Netflix accounts over its first seven days,  after a July 19 global launch. According to a Parrot Analytics study, “Elite” Season 2, released Sept. 6, was more popular in the U.S. than Spain. That said, all operators insisted their Spanish original series are made first and foremost for their home market. Madrona went even further. “The trick is managing to satisfy the most important viewer: Myself.”

2.Talent

Will there be enough market for established and new SVOD global streaming platforms? Of course, nobody knows. But the battle for success will be fought over talent. At Netflix, Diego Avalos, director of original content, Spain, confirmed that in upcoming months the streaming giant will announce “new talents and new formats” that it has been developing and “programs focused on new talent,” not only in Spain but Latin America and other European countries. “We as an industry have to think about the next generation,” he said.

3.Scale

On Friday, Telefonica and Atresmedia revealed a new 50/50 production-distribution venture aimed at allowing them to scale up on both fronts. Scale looks to be increasingly important. At the Saturday panel, Susana Herreras, Movistar+ head of development, original series, enthused about “The Plague” Season 2, still the Telefonica pay TV unit’s biggest swing in production values and large canvas. “This is about love, history and everything which makes for good TV.” Amazon Prime Video Spain has boarded “Inés of My Soul,” partnering RTVE and Chilevision. “It’s the most ambitious series in either market [for Amazon] I think we’ll see more of these types of co-productions in the future which allow us to be more ambitious,” said Ricardo Cabornero, responsable for content acquisitions, Amazon Prime Video Spain.

4.Brand is All

In a new era of heightened SVOD competition, “one big question is the credibility of brands. There’s so much content. Brands must be exquisite,” said Miguel Salvat, commissioning editor of original content, HBO España. Original production personalizes Movistar+, its president Sergio Oslé has said.

5. Originality 

Another touchstone: Originality. If a series isn’t an event title, it better be original. Canneseries winner “Perfect Life” is “very different,” said Herreras. HBO’s aims to “provide a unique, different point of view to address established themes” said HBO’s Salvat.

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