Saturday, July 2, 2022
Home / Top Stories / Exclusive Interview: Mediapro’s Tatxo Benet

Exclusive Interview: Mediapro’s Tatxo Benet


Mediapro Co-Founder and Managing Partner Tatxo Benet talks to World Screen about how he manages the various companies under the group’s umbrella.

Grupo Mediapro is comprised of several companies in Spain, Latin America and the U.S. Among them are Globomedia, a leading producer in Europe; the distribution arm Imagina International Sales; Imagina U.S., which produces for the Hispanic and Latin American markets; and Mediapro Argentina, an audiovisual services company. In Spain, Grupo Mediapro also has holdings in the broadcaster Atresmedia and pay-TV sports channels and has made significant investments in sports rights. The Chinese private equity firm Orient Hontai Capital recently acquired a 53.5-percent stake in Mediapro.

WS: Tell us about Mediapro’s organizational structure. How do you manage the various companies under the Mediapro umbrella?
BENET: We have always wanted people to make their own decisions, to be consistent and responsible and not always depend on what someone higher up says. The fact that there’s not much difference [in management positions] is something that has been part of the company’s DNA from the beginning. We want to [facilitate communication between] people. It’s a structure that allows everyone to know what the rest is doing. We have many divisions. The most important ones are TV rights distribution and event production, especially sports and live events. We also have a very solid content area, where there’s a lot of creativity for series and feature films.

WS: Are you looking to acquire more companies?
BENET: We are and always will be eclectic. We don’t like to diversify much in regards to the business we do, but we’re always analyzing opportunities that arise in any territory and in any area in which we work. We are very opportunistic. If we see an opportunity in a market, we analyze it and if it’s interesting, we move forward.

WS: In addition to having the rights to the Spanish Liga, you acquired the rights to the Serie A in Italy. How did this deal come about?
BENET: It’s a big bet, but it’s a natural diversification because what we’re going to do in Italy is the same that we’re doing in Spain. In other words, we acquire rights to Serie A and distribute them to all available operators and platforms. In Spain, we do it on a channel and in Italy we will try to do the same, but we have to see if there are any regulations we need to solve first. In any regard, our model is based on taking content, in the case of football games, to the greatest number of fans as possible. It’s also based on universal distribution rights, as has been done in many places with exclusive series. We look to lower subscription fees and expand the number of people that have access to content.

WS: How is Globomedia competing in the increasingly international drama market?
BENET: Our content has great local impact. Big foreign productionshave a difficult time trying to generate the same local impact as our shows. Our productions are increasingly international but [we are] keeping in mind that viewers mainly want to watch local stories.

WS: How important is Latin America for Mediapro? What deals are in the pipeline?
BENET: We’ve been in the region for quite some time. We acquired Televideo in Colombia and we’re producing content. In Argentina, we acquired a majority stake in the production outfit Oficina Burman, creating the biggest content creation hub in the area, spearheaded by Argentinean creator Daniel Burman. The company produced Edha, the first Argentinian series for Netflix. We’re producing the local football league in Bolivia and Chile, we signed a deal with Turner for content production. South America is a very important market for us.

WS: Mediapro has investments in free and pay TV. Are you looking to launch more channels?
BENET: We’re shareholders in Atresmedia, but we don’t manage the company. In the free-TV market in Spain, there are two big players that practically encompass 90 percent of the market: Atresmedia and Telecinco. In free TV, we have Gol Televisión, our football channel. In pay TV, we have beIN Sports, which airs international football and the Champions League. There’s also beIN LaLiga that broadcasts the games from the Spanish league. We have these channels in association with beIN Sports.

WS: Imagina has an office in the U.S. What’s the growth potential in the Hispanic market?
BENET: The Imagina office has been present for 20 years in the U.S. We mainly produce content and distribute rights. This was one of the first subsidiaries we created to supply [content] to the Hispanic market, which is continually growing and is becoming more demanding in its appetite for quality product. Since we know how to make high-quality content, we want to be more impactful in that market.

WS: What business opportunities do you see for Mediapro in the next few years?
BENET: If you had asked me a few months ago, I would have said that there are opportunities in content development. However, we’ve focused on acquiring rights for Italian football. But I see growth opportunities in content development as well as rights and production. Viewers are increasingly consuming and demanding more content. This will allow channels the opportunity to develop more productions.

About Elizabeth Bowen-Tombari

Elizabeth Bowen-Tombari is the editor of TV Latina.


Lionsgate Inks First-Look TV Deal with Le Train Train

The Lionsgate Television Group has signed a new first-look producing deal with the team of Rashida Jones and Will McCormack’s Le Train Train production company.