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Reality formats high on Rakuten TV’s priority list says content chief Daniel Gilgado

Adventure reality series Discovering Canary Islands is on its second season

European video-on-demand service Rakuten TV is looking to commission reality and entertainment formats as the platform expands its offering beyond its core factual titles.

Daniel Gilgado, European head of original content, spoke to C21 about his content wishlist at Conecta Fiction & Entertainment in Toledo, Spain last week.

The executive, who joined Rakuten earlier this year, said the European streamer is doubling down on the reality/entertainment space after the success of the first two seasons of adventure reality show Discovering Canary Islands.

Daniel Gilgado

A coproduction with Atlantia Media and Initiative/Mediabrands Content Studio, the show features social media influencers competing to discover the Canary Islands’ mythical ninth island, San Borondón.

Rakuten’s first venture into original reality programming, the show proved a hit on the service, leading to the acquisition of Shine Iberia’s HairStyle: The Talent Show.

Now the Barcelona-based streamer and FAST channels operator is looking to commission more new reality formats.

“Reality was an experiment for us and something new, but we’ve discovered that this genre really engages our audiences,” Gilgado said.

“We’re boosting our FAST channels and our viewers are looking for other types of content, because they’re used to seeing only documentaries on Rakuten TV. Our audiences value entertainment content, so we want to commission more in this space.”

Rakuten TV is, however, still ordering new factual content to complement its catalogue of documentary features and series.

Examples of popular original sports-skewing titles include Bojan, about the mental health struggles of former Barcelona football star Bojan Krkić Pérez, and Champions, which follows female soccer players.

Rakuten is also looking out for non-sports-related original factual projects, such as the film Rumesya Walking Tall, made by GWR Studios, about the world’s tallest woman and technology series Fast Forward, produced by Vice Media.

Gilgado said: “Our sports-skewing content is focused on great stories with big social impact, often looking at women’s sports and under-represented groups.

“Sports titles reflect the values of Rakuten: innovation, empowerment and optimism. We would also like to keep exploring different topics with our documentaries beyond sport.”

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