TV program “Insiders,” set up at Spain-based company iZen, has become Netflix’s first Spanish original reality show. The aim was to be innovative and, at the same time, recover the essence of old reality TV.
“Insiders” is produced by José Velasco, iZen president and founder, who years ago was behind the local version of “Big Brother,” where reality TV took off.
Velasco and Álvaro Díaz, entertainment director at Netflix Spain, talked about reality TV at last week’s Conecta Fiction & Entertainment industry meeting in Toledo.
In “Insiders,” hosted by “Money Heist” star Najwa Nimri, 12 contestants think they are in the final stage of a casting call for a reality show about which they had no details. But the reality show has in fact already begun, without their knowing it. The winner took home a €100,000 ($105,612) prize.
“Insiders’” Season 1 launched on Oct. 21; Season 2 premiered on May 19.
“It was a challenge to position our unscripted strategy and we wanted to do it in a different way: Innovating. From there, Velasco came back with a proposal, trying to give something that has not been seen,” Díaz explained.
“What really made the first reality show different was that feeling of innocence, that you didn’t know what was going to happen. We came up with the idea of combining the concept of hidden camera with the reality show concept,” Velasco added.
“Insiders” is highly ambitious production terms: with a near 100-person crew and a strong technical inout, taking place on a 17,200 sq. ft. soundstage with more than 250 hidden microphones and 70 hidden cameras.
“To be able to watch and hear the contestants without them knowing it leads to setting up a kind of huge hidden camera show in which you cannot miss an aspect, that of coexistence because it is essential,” Velasco argued.
For Netflix, “it was not only our first entertainment bet in Spain but also the first time that all the episodes of a TV program have been shared online. It’s been a learning experience,” Díaz said.
Another challenge was to make the show available in the 190 countries where Netflix operates, all at once. “We must adapt to the way viewers now wants to consume content, with everything accessible from day one,” said Díaz, who defined “Insiders” as “glocal content.”
Both seasons were recorded together, before the launch of the show, to avoid contestants discovering the trick to the show.
Despite that, “Insiders” doesn’t look like it’s now totally over. “Creatives at iZen have already thought of several options to reinvent the format,” Diaz explained.