Explora Films eyes up Latin America exploration

Iñaki Ferreras ©RapidTVNews | 07-12-2011

Spanish producer Explora Films is "very" interested in Latin America, according to the company's CEO Oscar Portillo.

The producer premiered Spanish hit TV series 'La Señora' at MIPCOM 2011 and has a project in which National Geographic Latin America will be involved.

Explora Film's CEO says that he believes that there are different ways in which families watch TV during their leisure time: people are leaning more towards new devices and leaving the standard TV set behind. "This will obviously change the TV business model, in which 95% of the income -in our country- comes from advertising," he told 'TTV Media News'.
Yet the executive also recognises Spain's specific market conditions where "the circumstances are unnatural and anti-market." The so-called "merging of the nines" (Telecinco and Cuatro have joined forces, as well as Antena3 and La Sexta), which follows the lack of advertising in TVE and over 20 new licences provided to different TV networks.

Portillo has an explanation for that because of these alliances, 90% of the advertising income is concentrated in two major publishing groups; two great decision makers. "From a market's point of view, the situation is practically an oligopoly," he says. Independent production is also dealt a bad hand in this scenario: "These companies are creating -which makes perfect sense if they are allowed to do so by the law- a series of distribution and production companies around them, and they get most of the profits," the executive declares.

There's also the issue with the new TV networks which, according to the CEO, have not yet been able to diversify their offer as much as they intended to: "The new networks have developed a TV model that's very similar to the standard one which has never worked. They are creating programming just like the one in Antena3 and Telecinco, but in a smaller scale. They even imitate their newscasts' structure, which is absolutely insane. And the whole situation becomes even more complicated for independent producers," he says.

Since most of Explora Films' content is based on wildlife, nature, anthropology and travel, Latin America is seen as presenting a 'wonderful' source of material and a major production centre for the company. Such is the case of Peru, where 'El Señor de Sipán' was filmed. And in the short term the company has nine projects to make in Peru.

As far as distribution in Latin America, Explora Films usually signs pan-regional deals with partners such as History Channel, Discovery or National Geographic. "Reaching each TV set individually entails a lot more work, but it's just a matter of time before it happens," Portillo concludes.