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Mediaset España, ‘El Príncipe’ Showrunner Aitor Gabilondo Launch Alea Media

Variety logo Variety 1/13/2017 Emiliano De Pablos
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Spain’s leading broadcaster, Mediaset España, and showrunner Aitor Gabilondo, co-creator of local TV primetime hit series “El Príncipe,” have teamed to launch Alea Media, a new company specialized in developing fiction production.

Gabilondo owns 60% in Alea Media, Mediaset España, the remaining 40%.

Alea launches as local TV dramas continue dominating Spanish TV primetime ratings and growing internationally, in terms of sales and co-production projects. Gabilondo left last year Plano a Plano, a Madrid-based production house he co-created in 2011 alongside vet Spanish producer César Benítez. Plano a Plano has produced undercover cop drama “El Príncipe” for Mediaset España and comedy “Down Below” for Atresmedia. They proved two of the most-watched local TV skeins in Spain last year.

Having also worked as a writer on long-running series “Journalists” and “El Comisario,” Gabilondo’s career has been closely linked to Mediaset España.

“There is no better news than announcing this step which we take together at a moment when national fiction – in addition to being a TV genre on the rise, increasingly more consumed and valued – is one [of the TV program types] with most international reach,” said Manuel Villanueva, Mediaset España’s contents general director.

“That Mediaset create a production company around a scriptwriter or a showrunner is a statement of principles and confirms that the times are changing. We are living the most effervescent moment for the TV fiction that I have known That’s a great challenge and a great opportunity for creators,” Gabilondo added.

The launch of Alea Media continues Mediaset España acquisition of equity positions in Spanish TV production companies. It already own stakes in Mandarina and La Fábrica de la Tele.

For Mediaset España, in-house production is key, especially for its core channel Telecinco which topped free-to-air TV ratings in 2016.

During the first nine months of the year, 92.7% of Telecinco’s broadcast hours were in-house productions, including fictions, newscasts, talk shows and reality shows, compared to 91.5% in 2015’s first nine months.

The launch of Alea Media will reinforce Mediaset España’s aim to strengthen its in-house fiction production strategy, including for Cuatro, company’s second most-watched TV network, which still fills covers 44% of its programming with third-party company content.

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