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Coproductions, original film tipped to be future of Latin American content

The ‘International coproduction trends and investment’ panel at Content Americas on Thursday

CONTENT AMERICAS: Coproductions and original feature-length films tailored to streamers will be the future of the growing Latin American market, according to Javier Méndez, head of film and co-head of TV content at Spain’s The Mediapro Studio.

As the industry readies itself for a cycle of reduced spending, Méndez said the tightening of belts would force content companies to turn to coproductions to leverage costs and feed the ever-growing demand for new programming, especially that emerging from Latin America.

“Coproduction is going to be the way to work in the future. We all expect there is going to be huge cost-cutting in the next few years, and it’ll be an opportunity, as people won’t be spending the same money but we’re still going to need to produce,” Méndez said during a panel session today at Content Americas in Miami.

The Spanish exec also said streamers were increasing their focus on original feature films to strengthen their offerings.

“There will be a big opportunity with films. In every meeting we have with the platforms, they demand films because they’ve discovered that film as a narrative unit is pretty interesting for them, as opposed to series, which were once the flavour of the week. Films will be a big opportunity to work with talent,” Méndez said.

He added that The Mediapro Studio has prioritised developing talent-driven original content to remain a relevant player across the Spanish-language market and beyond.

The exec pointed out that the Latin American market has honed its tastes, expectations and demands over the last five years, driven mainly by a shift in audience expectations.

“Latin America is looking for really premium shows. Audiences in Latin America were once used to different kinds of shows, but since they’ve had access to platforms like Netflix, the audience has realised the content is really good. They’re now demanding much higher quality in terms of the production and the storytelling – and there is huge talent in Latin America to develop that,” he said.

The sentiment was echoed by Sergio Pizzolante, president of Spain’s Secuoya Studios, who added that streamers have become more selective with their commissioning process and will likely cherry-pick projects over the coming years.

“As audiences become more sophisticated, they will be more open to sample different things, so somebody’s got to take chances. Even though streaming platforms are going to commission less, they’re going to pick things that resonate, as opposed to the previous model,” Pizzolante said.

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