MediaPro, one of Spain’s leading audiovisual content, production and distribution groups, has been steadily expanding in the Latin American region and the U.S. Hispanic market.

“Our obsession is to find the best talent, work with them and establish long-term relationships, seeking the best stories regardless of where they take place,” says Javier Méndez, content director at Mediapro. “Latin America always has been a real powerhouse for new talent, writers and directors, and now new projects are necessary. We are lucky to be there to meet the increasing content demand.”

The group is already positioned internationally in the English-speaking market with productions such as HBO’s The Young Pope, produced by Paolo Sorrentino and starring Jude Law. It’s also involved in the production of The New Pope, with Law and John Malkovich, and is working with David Simon on A Dry Run, a series about the Spanish Civil War.

The studio’s extension to Latin America is aimed at telling high quality universal stories.

“All audiences around the world are very receptive to watching good stories, regardless of where they happen. The objective is that the characters have conflicts that any viewer can relate to,” says Méndez.

Gradual Expansion

Mediapro’s first stop in Latin America’s Spanish-speaking market was Argentina, through a project co-developed with Argentine director Daniel Burman’s production company Oficina Burman in 2016, followed by the purchase of a large share of the agency in 2017. The combined talent, creativity and leadership established one of the most powerful Spanish-speaking audiovisual content hubs in the region, and led to Edha, the first original series for Netflix in Argentina.

In 2018, Burman was appointed head of content for Mediapro’s United States, Mexico and Central America division

“Daniel Burman has a special profile,” says Méndez. “He not only has excellent creative skills but he also has an impressive ability to understand where the industry is heading, what kind of stories to create and what partners to look for.”

With that in mind, Mediapro is focused on developing fictional stories that embody the reality of U.S. Latinos, targeting new generations of Spanish-speakers.

“It’s not an easy task because these are audiences that consume more English-speaking products, while not giving up their Hispanic roots,” says Méndez. Burman is tasked with creating and identifying projects aimed at U.S. Hispanics.

Burman also is eyeing Mexico and Mediapro is considering opening a production center in Mexico City.

“As the door to the U.S. Hispanic market, Mexico will be one of our main objectives. It is not an easy endeavor but we are approaching it with energy and enthusiasm,” says Méndez.

In addition to the Mexican production center , Mediapro recently opened a center in Santiago de Chile and the studio has locations in Buenos Aires, Bogotá and Miami.

“Having offices in Latin America makes this region, language and culture our priority,” says Méndez. We are highly regarded in Spain and the Spanish-language content is important for us, so our main challenge is to reflect and launch the same content strategy in Latin America, sharing our experience with our partners in the region.”

Sports Take Center Stage

As part of its expansion, Mediapro is leveraging its position in the world of sports. Besides managing sports rights in Spain, the group develops content in this field, such as Messi, a documentary by renowned Spanish director Álex de la Iglesia about the life and career of Argentina’s star football player.

“Live football is unbeatable content, but our challenge and mission is to develop sports content that, in spite of having football as a backdrop, is not strictly focused on it,” says Méndez.

This roadmap includes several projects such as docuseries Six Dreams, available July 27 on Amazon Prime Video. In six episodes it showcases Spain’s professional football league through the lens of six football personalities: three players, two coaches and a club’s president.

Also, on July 15, Mediapro premiered Todo por el juego (“Everything for the Game”) on DirecTV in Argentina, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Uruguay, Chile, the Caribbean, and Venezuela. The thriller is based on the novel El fútbol no es así (This isn’t Football), by Javier Tebas, president of La Liga, Spain’s professional football league, and co-author Pedro Torrens. The series, directed by Daniel Calparsoro and shot in Madrid and Buenos Aires, also tackles all aspects of the football industry, including its dark side of corruption and ambition.

New Narratives

Another sports-related project from Mediapro is N00Bees, a series produced jointly with Viacom International Studios for Nickelodeon Latin America. While the original idea was created by Spain’s Enrique “Flipy” Pérez, from production company 100 Balas—a part of Mediapro group—-it’s being developed by Televideo in Bogotá, Colombia.

“With N00bees we want to further intensify our production activity in the region, so there is an increased sharing of talent between Spain and Latin America,” says Méndez. “We hope it will be the first of more to come. We believe both Latin American and Spanish fiction are growing and being recognized all over the world thanks to global VOD platforms, and we consider this a great moment to strengthen the efforts we were already making.”

The series will feature 60 one-hour episodes and will be released toward the end of the year. The plot revolves around the world of e-sports, video games and gamers. It’s a field Mediapro has explored through its promotion of the League of Professional Video Games, one Spain’s largest e-sports leagues.

N00bees also is an example of Mediapro’s intent to develop transmedia, virtual reality and augmented reality content. Last year, the company created the video game Flipy’s Tesla! Inventemos el futuro (Flipy’s Tesla! Let’s invent the future) for PlayStation VR, jointly with production company 100 Balas, Sony Interactive Entertainment Spain and Animatoon Studio.

“These new technologies represent virgin territory that we need to begin to populate,” says Méndez.“There is a lot to explore in terms of entertainment and education.”

Diversifying Projects

Another production that extends Mediapro’s presence in Latin America is Los Internacionales (The Internationals), a series under development with Telefe (Viacom). The eight-episode thriller, expected to debut in 2019, is based on La Conexión Bogotá (Connection Bogotá), a book by Argentine journalist Nahuel Gallotta, who infiltrated the international gangs of Colombian thieves after they settled in Argentina.

Mediapro’s center in Argentina will lead the production, with filming set to take place in Colombia, Argentina and Spain. VIMN Américas will hold the distribution rights in North America.

The company also has an agreement with Turner Latin America to develop and produce multiplatform content in the region over the course of five years, with a $10 million investment that includes content production for Chile’s Chilevisión and Turner Latin America’s own brands, as well as content to be exported outside the region.

Overall, Mediapro is focusing on transferring talent between regions: “Although the idea is to further intensify content production in Latin America, we already have made a good start in the region and have gained relevance,” says Méndez.

Version español: MediaPro intensifica su presencia en Latinoamérica

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