NATPE Budapest 2024: The impact of strategic partnerships

Partnerships are officially more than a business trend; they affect how content is produced and sold worldwide. Executives from Inter Medya, Fremantle, Paprika, The Mediapro Studios, Onza, Banijay Rights, and Globo describe the value of alliances and collaborations.

24 JUN 2024

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In recent years, the number of partnerships in the content industry has increased due to the different benefits they bring for companies, including the opportunity to expand the content's reach and reduce production costs, among others.Executives from Inter Medya, Fremantle, Paprika, The Mediapro Studios, OnzaBanijay Rights, and Globo, all attending NATPE Budapest, spoke with Señal News about the impact of these partnerships in the industry.

For Can Okan, Founder and CEO of Inter Medya, partnering with companies from different regions offers added value: "By combining our strengths, we create content that resonates with diverse audiences and sets new standards in our industry." Looking for a new partner, Okan explained that the main focus is a common ground between companies: "Working with our partners towards a common goal, sharing the same ethical values, maintaining strong communication, building mutual trust, and, of course, enjoying the work we do together is incredibly important." Okan explained that their partners value Turkish content: "In the countries where we partnered with companies, Turkish content was already being broadcast and achieving great success. Our international production partners recognized Turkish content's success, were confident in its potential, and knew what they were offering, which led them to pursue Turkish co-productions."

Meanwhile, Anna Maslowska, Fremantle's Director of Distribution for Central and Eastern Europe, highlighted the value of international partnerships. "Partnerships with other regions allow us to cater to our growing network of territories. These partnerships allow us to add international appeal to projects while catering to the interests of specific cultures, including the CEE region. Partnerships unlock new methods of producing content and help us identify new trends. Part of this involves sharing risks through finding partners with similar program needs. By working with partners with similar needs, we can get shows to market faster," Maslowska stated. She further explained that, when looking for a new partner, "we are platform agnostic, and work with all streamers: local, regional, and global, to cater to different audiences. For Fremantle, it's all about finding the right homes for the right shows and building long-term partnerships. We also partner with the best-in-class producers to bring our shows to life.

For Ákos Erdős, Chief Executive Officer at Paprika Studios, partnerships can boost content's success. "Depending on the topic, you need creators with different backgrounds, and this is where a good partnership can give you an advantage. When selling your content, a partner with a network in regions or territories we don't know is definitely an accelerator." Erdős added that these partnerships can increase the content's profitability. "We can better utilize the available soft money opportunities in the respective countries and be eligible for EU funding for TV and film productions. The sales process is also much more straightforward with an international partner, who is usually more qualified and better prepared to successfully sell content in their home country," he added. Paprika Studios is actively looking for international projects. "The more a project appeals to different target groups from different regions, the greater the chance of finding buyers and commissioners," Erdős said. While explaining how to look for new partners, the executive was clear: "Trust and passion. This business is about people, so the chemistry must be right for you to achieve your goals in a partnership," he said.

Marta Ezpeleta, Head of Distribution, Coproductions, Acquisitions and International Offices at The Mediapro Studios, highlighted the importance of partnerships as well: “Without a doubt, this is a huge opportunity to open markets for our content. In fact, TMS produces all over the world and has offices and infrastructure worldwide, in Europe, Latin America and the United States, which allows us to take on very diverse projects and work with partners from different backgrounds who have opened the door to our content.” The executive also shared that, although co-productions may have changed the way projects are developed, the company’s objective remains to “to guarantee the viability of a project and the collaboration model will depend on the nature of each project. We do not have a fixed pattern of action, but we adapt to what is necessary for each production.” Ezpeleta concluded that, when looking for a new partner, two aspects are key: “Solvency and flexibility. They are also our main qualities to be appreciated as partners. We have an extraordinary relationship with all our partners and our customers because it is based on a relationship of mutual trust, which is fundamental for getting projects off the ground.”

Gonzalo Sagardía, Founder and CEO of Onza, explained the added value of partnering with companies from different regions. "It helps to identify local trends and ensure that plots and dialogues incorporate local peculiarities. Some projects are clearly designed to be original, and it makes perfect sense for the production company to execute them that way. Others have a greater international potential and can operate in other models. Finding the right partner is 99% of the project's potential success. Perhaps every project has its ideal partner. For us, it is important to agree on the overall vision of the project and the way to tell the story. Producers have to be extremely flexible and anticipate market conditions."

Moreover, Claire Jago, EVP of Sales and Acquisitions, EMEA, at Banijay Rights, highlighted the importance of attending international markets to meet with potential partners. "Central and Eastern Europe is an important market for us, and we work hard to secure numerous formats and finished program sales across these territories. Over the years, we've built up significant momentum and worked closely with a broad spectrum of major broadcasters on both finished and format deals, launching new titles and continuing successful franchises," she stated.

Rodrigo Nascimento, Head of International Business for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa at Globo, believes that "collaboration and partnerships are fundamental, thus bringing new ways of telling stories and doing business." He highlighted that it facilitates getting the resources needed for production and enriches the final product quality, combining diverse perspectives and possibly connecting with broader audiences. "Nowadays, producers are always looking for the next global hit, and the increasingly demanding public is getting used to consuming content from previously unthinkable places and regions," Nascimento said. He concluded that partnerships must make sense for all parties involved. "There must be a lot of synergy between the parties and a common perception of value," he stated.

Fremantle attends NATPE Budapest with scripted shows like the crime thriller "White Lies," the love story "Alice and Jack, the Cold War thriller "Herrhausen: The Banker and the Bomb," "Sullivan's Crossing," as well as new documentaries "Zuckerberg: King of the Metaverse for Sky," "A Brief History of the Future," Elizabeth Taylor: Rebel Superstar" and "Queen of Crypto".

Moreover, Paprika Studios is working on a feature film alongside an Italian production company. The company recently produced the unscripted series "The Bridge" for HBO in cooperation with a third-party production company. Finally, Globo will showcase "Codex 632" (co-production Globoplay, RTP, and SPi), "Rio Connection" (Globo, Floresta, and Sony), and "Theodosia" (Globoplay, Cottonwood Media, ZDF, ZDF Enterprise, and HBO Max).

Some of The Mediapro Studios' partnerships include the strategic alliance to create content with companies such as ViX, which has produced, among others, the series "Las Pelotaris 1926" and "Consuelo"; Mediapym, with whom we work to adapt content to the Spanish and Latin American market; BBC Studios, with whom we partnered for "The Famous Five". In addition, it has reached agreements with the main operators in the industry worldwide: Amazon Prime Video ("Iosi, el espía arrepentido", "Primate", "Su Majestad", "El Internado Las Cumbres"), Viacom ("Pequeña Victoria"), Paramount+ ("Cecilia"), SPT ("Código Implacable"), Hulu Japan ("The Head"), Starzplay ("Express"), Movistar Plus+ ("Celeste") and Atresmedia ("UPA Next", "La edad de la ira"), among others.

By Federico Martinez