MADRID — Already producing 34 scripted series, The Mediapro Studio is now entering second-phase growth, naming Laura Fernández Espeso to the newly-created post of corporate director and expanding other senior management positions to meet the market needs of one of the fastest-expanding scripted series producers in Europe.
Announcement of the appointments comes as The Mediapro Studio prepares to unleash on Mipcom banner series “The Head,” one of the biggest ever to come out of Spain, an English-language Antarctic thriller produced with Hulu Japan and HBO Asia and a sign of the ambition the Studio aims to achieve in its flagship titles.
Also coming up to completion are woman’s reawakening story “Paradise,” also a Finnish-Spanish crime thriller; coming of age story “Paraíso,” with Movistar+; Mexican women’s soccer team drama “Las Bravas,” the first scripted title announced in an alliance with Turner Latin America, and social comedy “Whatever,” made for HBO España.
The Mediapro Studio’s strategy was set from its launch: “Creating and producing; forging big franchises; retaining IP and distribution,” said Fernández Espeso.
But the company also needs a sense of direction and market opportunity, as markets, key players, hit content, production philosophies and audiences evolve at an extraordinary rate.
In her new role, Fernández Espeso will create a five-year strategic and business plan for the company,” she said.
She will also oversee The Mediapro Studio operations in the Mediapro Group’s international offices producing content, analyze M&A and new business opportunities, such as short formats, digital content and others areas of expansion that are not fiction, entertainment and cinema, she said.
As corporate director, Fernandez Espeso will be responsible for the areas of business affairs, finance, music, conservation of the Group’s audiovisual heritage; and talent training programs, such as the Masters in Scriptwriting and derivates. She also maintains her responsibility as co-head of TV where she is responsible for the areas of development, production and distribution for international markets.
Javier Méndez remains The Mediapro Studio chief content officer, Javier Pons co-head of TV, overseeing domestic production.
In further appointments, Marta Ezpeleta, the former general manager Disney Media Distribution, Soain and Portugal, with 21 years of experience in the business, has been named the new head of The Mediapro Studio distribution and co-production, with oversight of co-production, sales and acquisitions. One of Spain’s best known sales executives, Beatriz Setuain, will now report to Ezpeleta, working in all three areas.
Ex-Lagardère executive Beatrice Nouh is joining The Mediapro Studio to lead sales to France and Benelux.Toni Salas has relocated to London as U.K. sales head.
“The move by one of our strongest sellers, Miguel García, to Miami, sparked a spike in sales. The fact he was on the ground there was highly positive,” said Fernández Espeso.
Michael Fonseca, a co-production expert who worked at Baker McKenzie, has been named Studio head of business affairs.
“Our volume of production is huge, not just 34 scripted series but over 60 unscripted titles and four feature films, and all of them require different contracts, Fernández Espeso said.
Former Warner executive Miguel Pintado is joining the Studio today Oct. 9 to head up its marketing division for both products and brand, reporting to Fernández Espeso.
The appointments come after The Mediapro Studio named Juliana Barrera, another highly experienced executive, as head of content, Colombia.
Reasons for the flurry of appointments cut several ways. One is a huge spike in production levels over the last three years. “We have to strengthen the industrial structure of the Studio to enable it to continue producing at maximum levels,” said Fernández Espeso.
The Mediapro Studio has achieved the Holy Grail of TV producers, sharing or retaining IP and rights to certain territories on a significant number of titles, via co-production. Now, recouping on risk depends on distribution returns, Fernandez Espeso observed. The Mediapro Studio will also continue distributing for third parties, and increase its movie business, she added.
In a sellers market, companies require sellers, as well. A slew of titles once in development are now near completion. The Mediapro Studio has secured production partnerships with key players around the world – Turner Latin America, Televisa, Amazon, for example. Now it has to ask where it is taking those alliances.
The company also needs scale to compete and partner with the biggest companies in the world.
“The market’s going through huge change. It’s highly competitive, but fascinating. One key to Mediapro is rapidity of reaction. Another to listen, be highly attentive, and flexible. We wouldn’t have been able to make the huge number of of co-productions we have made without flexibility,” Fernández Espeso concluded.
She added: “But structure, business plans, strategy, none of this makes much sense without quality content.”