Spain’s Telefonica, Atresmedia Unveil Production Powerhouse Buendia Estudios

Atresmedia's Silvio Gonzalez, Telefonica's Emilio Gayo

European Commission antitrust authorities have greenlit the launch of Buendía Estudios, the joint content creation and production company created by giant telecom Telefonica and Spain’s Atresmedia group, original co-creators of “La Casa de Papel.”

Producing film, series and entertainment projects, the game-changing strategic alliance will see a joint venture between Spain’s two biggest content investors who invested some €1.45 billion ($1.6 billion) in programming in 2019, according to IHS Markit estimates.

The move allows the partners to gain in budgetary scale when making movies – though nowhere near the heights of U.S. series. All the more, however, it will enhance their ability to offer multiple creative options to top talent in the Spanish-speaking world as talent relations become the crux of success in a highly competitive sector.

Rather than taking on Netflix, a common reading of the joint venture when its first announced last September, Buendía Estudios sets out to produce premium content for third-parties which will inevitably include the global streaming platforms, as well as create a network of current title-by-title partners with like-minded fellow giants in Europe.

The launch of the new studio follows a framework agreement unveiled Sept. 20 by Telefonica, Europe’s third biggest telco, and the DeAPlaneta-controlled broadcaster Atresmedia, with the objective if becoming a new production force.

Aimed at positioning itself as a reference studio for the creation and production of Spanish-language content, Buendía will compete in the Spanish, Latin American and U.S. Hispanic markets.

A large part of the new studios’ activity will be focused on third-party operators, both Spanish and international, boosting Spain’s audiovisual sector and indie production industrial fabric, both partners said Wednesday in a statement.

“Buendía Estudios will have the necessary infrastructure for recurring content production, creating a stable business environment for the development and creation of audiovisual projects,” the statement added.

It will also promote association and co-productions with further companies in the sector.

The new company will offer a team of professionals with extensive experience in both the development and production of fiction, film and entertainment projects, whose partners already takes in Telefónica’s paybox Movistar Plus, Atresmedia, Amazon, Netflix, Warner – HBO, TNT and HBO Max-, Orange and Spanish regional channels.

Partnering with Atresmedia, Telefonica 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,” “Locked Up” – Buendía will allow it to ramp up scale as top players are producing at ever higher production ambition.