The combined original content investment of RTVE, Atresmedia, Mediaset and Movistar+ has grown sharply in the past three years, reaching 40% of the TV group's combined content spend. Total investment in content by the four largest broadcast groups has also grown 8% since 2015 to reach close to €1.8bn by the end of 2018.
The increased investment in original programming has seen Spain become a hotbed for commissioning. Spain ranks fifth among international markets analysed in Ampere's Commissioning Analytics for the number of new TV projects in development or production. Mediaset leads with 19 upcoming programmes, while Atresmedia and RTVE both have 13 upcoming shows. Telefónica's Movistar+ has also bet large on original production with 12 TV shows in the pipeline and recently announced the launch of its original movie strategy, with three projects already in development. The country is also a key focus for Netflix originals. Netflix has 15 original Spanish productions in the works.
In a highly competitive market, this strategic shift towards localised content is a way for domestic broadcasters and platforms to retain audience, as many digital players have bet on originals to drive subscription growth. While at the time of its Spanish launch in October 2015 Netflix didn’t offer original local content, it has been catching up since then and in February 2019 had five completed original Spanish TV shows available on its local platform. The US company also opened its first European production hub in Madrid in April 2019. Spanish original content not only targets local viewers, but also has a large potential market in Hispanic audiences abroad. The Spanish TV groups can notably rely on Latin America’s developing middle class to provide new outlets for exclusive content.