The strong boom in films and series in recent years paints a picture for production companies that is as sweet as it is delicate. Audiovisual companies in the sector recognise that this growing demand, driven by the consolidation of streaming platforms, requires them to rethink new differentiating formulas, generate more content and squeeze -even more- their creativity, with the same resources.
This was one of the conclusions of the round table held yesterday at the second edition of Iberseries & Platino Industria, the largest industrial event of the Ibero-American audiovisual sector held in Madrid, where productions are marketed, experiences are shared and sector synergies are created.
Spokespersons from renowned Ibero-American production companies agreed that, in this complex context for the industry, one of the most feasible ways to achieve profitability is through international co-production. The head of production and development at Buendía Estudios, Ana Paula Valdovinos, commented that “co-production has more of a place than ever, because the industry is becoming more and more complicated. The union can make more sense and entail less economic risk”. The Mexican producer argues that the challenge is for “the co-production model to be sustainable for everyone, both creatively and financially”.
In this sense, the general director of Plano a Plano, Emilio Amaré, considers that “as platforms advance in content acquisition, production companies are realising that they have to be investing the same money and expanding the number of series”. A reality that forces them to “build bridges with allies, formerly competitors, so that content can be seen all over the world”.
International co-production is “the best model we can have”, according to Manuel Martí, Head of Scripted Development at the Argentinian production company Freemantle. In his opinion, the strong point of this model is “that there is no single voice that sets the narrative of the content”. A system that, according to the director of development and content at Zeta Studios (Élite), Xavier Toll, “is much more democratic in terms of content, because it allows you to propose more and have a wider range of possibilities. This model will give us more sustainability and a lot of happiness”.
“There are a lot of good ideas but not many good developments”.
For producer Xavier Toll, the extensive range of content in series and films presents a pending issue: greater investment in content development. In his opinion, this is “the petrol of any production company and we must not cut corners on this. There are many good ideas but not many good developments”. He argues that “development is worth money because it needs time, heads and hands. It’s difficult for a production company to develop because it’s an investment, but it doesn’t make sense not to invest in it.
One of the most worrying moments for producers is the launch of their work. In those days, they analyse how viewers have received their productions and how many have remained ‘hooked’ to the screen. This ambitious goal, the specialists recognise, often prevents producers from betting on new experimentations. The general director of Colombian production company 11:11 Films & TV, Juancho Cardona, argues that “the algorithm, the people, are in charge today and that is why the mission is to create projects that generate more users. Sometimes, if I’m too creative, they won’t like it as much. I think that in terms of story we can take risks, but in terms of form and experimentation, you can be punished for that.”
Despite this, producers such as Xabier Toll, from Zeta Studios, defends the possibility of breaking schemes and experimenting. He explains that “more and more development is taking place with the end client in mind and that leaves little room for experimentation”, although “we must be optimistic and push producers to move away from the conservative. We can do it”.
Iberseries & Platino Industria, an event organised by Fundación Secuoya, will continue until Friday with talks, networking and screenings of new productions such as: Apagón (Movistar +), El encargado (Star and Walt Disney Company Latin America) or El Presidente (Prime Video Latam), among others.