Atresmedia, Mediaset & RTVE drama chiefs talk windows, reach & global appeal

Drama chiefs at Spanish free-to-air giants Atresmedia, Mediaset España & RTVE have said streamers are “extending the financial life” of their scripted output, on the final day of Conecta Fiction in Toledo.

Montse Garcia, head of fiction at La Casa de Papel commissioner Atresmedia TV, said her company was now assessing every show it commissioned as to whether it had global appeal and whether it would fit best on its linear networks or streamer, Atresplayer TV.

“Our work is global,” she told delegates at Conecta Fiction, which has attracted almost 750 attendees from 31 countries. “We assess a project then decide – if a show has content that might fit best for our free TV channels or our platform.”

Paramount Partnerership

The broadcaster has a storied history of producing dramas that travel and Garcia said global streamers and domestic operators are helping to extend the reach of shows to broader audiences.

Among its latest slate is Paco Cabeza’s Gypsy Bride, the novel written by Carmen Mola, which is already in production with Paramount’s VIS and Diagonal TV, part of Banijay Iberia. The show will air on Paramount+ globally and Atresmedia in Spain later this year, and Garcia said it underlined the way partnerships with streamers could support domestic programming.


Arantxa Ecija, director fiction at Mediaset Espana, added that linear networks continued to provide large viewership but also pointed to shows such as Entrevías – about a war hero who attempts to stop drug dealers taking over his neighbourhood – which is being made available around the world by Netflix as the way a streamer-broadcaster model can work.

“We can be open to different windows, we can coproduce on shows with that first window. The disruption of screens is good for the business, you’re lengthening the economic life of shows. We have that window to be a broadcaster and it then opens ourselves up to the world.”

Ecija added: “When Netflix came here they were looking for the best commercial hits. We also want to get people to be moved, then we can say this is a great local show, or a global – or glocal – programme. The most important thing is character, character, character.”

Window requirements

The Spanish commercial broadcaster would retain its preference for the less internationally friendly 70-minute episodes, the exec said, because it works with advertising slots, but admitted she was exploring stories that could be run over 50- or 30-minute slots.

“For primetime on Telecinco we are going to do keep 70 minute but for smaller productions we are trying to find different windows.”

Jose Pastor, who took up his new role of director of fiction & cinema at pubcaster RTVE in November, added that longer episodes could works with Spanish drama because it required less commitment over many weeks from viewers.

“We can’t ask audiences to be there for six, eight or ten weeks – that is risky. We can’t ask for fidelity over a long period but we can over three or four evenings to watch a show, but please don’t ask me to stay for 12 or 13 [episodes], or 22 as it was in the US.”

RTVE has also been partnering with global streamers to push budgets further, with Boundless among its recent slate, with the show sold by ZDF Studios. Amazon has already snagged the series – exploring the 16th century voyage of Juan Sebastián Elcano and Ferdinand Magellan – for exclusive premiere in the UK, Spain, the US and Latin America, but Pastor said streamer deals could provide for all audiences.

“The windows can be decided by the level of participation,” he added. “If TV pays more they could premiere, if a platform pays much more, they could go first. If they pay the same, perhaps we could premiere at the same time.

“I don’t have the data to back this up but I do think [sharing shows with streamers] is not cannibalising our shows – the profile of viewers on linear tends to be different to platform viewers.”

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