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The fundamental pillars of every European production seem to be in their scriptwriters and their ingenuity to create innovative content.
Towards the end of 2018, European Parliament approved a law that requires all platforms that provide audiovisual content throughout the continent to have at least 30% European productions within their programming. This requirement complicates thing for streaming platforms that provide their services in Europe, due to the fact that they handle almost all their productions independently; and the vast majority of them are made outside of the borders that encompass the 28 countries in the European Union bloc.
That minimum quantity of domestic productions is already regulated in Spain, but online platforms were not obligated to comply with this regulation, as they do not have their headquarters inside of the territory. However, Europe would now oblige them with this regulatory modification, which will then be reflected into the law of each country.
Netflix, for example, has been working on covering all parts of the world with its content. Their concern now is not being able to reach the 30% required by European law, as it has already made its percentage comparisons of "La Casa de Papel" (whose third season will be released this year) with the rest of the series it produces and fears that it will not reach this percentage, unless they establish contacts with creators and producers within the region. This is the reason why Netflix has teamed up with Mediaset. Both have started the production of new series like "Brigada Costa del Sol", "Elite" and "Paquita Salas".
Netflix intends to deliver 81 original productions and 60 co-productions or programs licensed from other producers. Towards the middle of last year, Netflix announced that they would invest, for the first time ever, €1 billion in European content with a range of titles from the UK, Germany, France and Spain.
Reed Hastings, CEO of Netflix, confirmed that this was initially and to a large extent, made to meet the European content quotas set by the European Commission, and then announced that it would develop “Criminal", a new series consisting of 12 unique stories set in four European countries: France, Spain, Germany and the United Kingdom.
For its part, Amazon Prime Video launched the first season of the Spanish series "Pequeñas Coincidencias", audiovisualy created, written, directed and starred by Javier Veiga in association with the audiovisual producer Atresmedia studio, one of the most important in Spain. However, this is the first production bet that fuses the organization with a foreign audiovisual character, so this platform must also make a greater effort to expand in Europe.
In HBO’s case, even though its channel is aimed at the Spanish community, it has not yet met the 30% quota of its production space of purely European materials either, but they are embarking on the path to do so with "Patria”, an adaptation of Fernando Aramburu's novel (of the same name), which will have the support of scriptwriter Aitor Gabilondo, who will be in charge of developing this story with the support of his new company Alea Media.
HBO Spain affirms for the newspaper El Mundo of Spain, "local content is in great demand within all the territories and in fact, at the moment we are in a process of selection for projects to develop and series of in-house production in Spain, a process of which we are especially excited about.”
This restriction will not be a problem for traditional channels or paid television platforms in the continent, as they direct a large part of their content in home-made productions.
Atresmedia, TVE, Mediaset and in some cases Movistar +, who has reaffirmed its dominant position with plenty and very varied content (almost releasing one series per month) this year, opted for placing renowned film directors in charge of their projects, such as Dani Écija, César Benítez or Miguel Ángel Bernadeu, with their novels "Estoy Vivo,” Movistar+’s "Cuéntame" and Antena 3’s "Allí Abajo.”
Although Movistar + does not provide much official data regarding its series’ ratings, there are those who indicate that some have not managed to cover expectations or costs of production and promotion, so we will have to be attentive to their new projects that are being developed.
The scriptwriters and their ingenuity to create innovative content seem to be the fundamental pillars of all European productions. From now on they could be the big secret for the streaming platforms who need to reach the 30% quota of European production required by the European Parliament, since they are the ones who are currently in charge of audiovisual productions and are committed to innovative content adapted for these platforms.
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