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Madrid looks set to get its second international production hub in a week with the announcement today by Viacom International Studios (VIS) that it would open two new European production hubs in the Spanish capital and Manchester.
The VIS news comes a day before Netflix officially inaugurates its first European production hub in Madrid.
In a statement, Viacom called the new hubs part of an expansion strategy to create exclusive Spanish- and English-language content.
“Broadcasters and streamers are in a global arms race for the best content, which represents a significant growth opportunity for Viacom with our international capacity and in-built creative expertise,” added David Lynn, CEO of Viacom International Media Networks.
Jill Offman, international brand head for Comedy Central and Paramount Network as well as MTV in the U.K. and across northern and eastern Europe, will supervise Viacom’s London hub, which is being rebranded the Viacom International Studios U.K.
The new Manchester hub will work with VIS U.K. on English-language commissions for U.K.-based third-party broadcaster and distributors, in addition to content already produced locally for Channel 5 and Viacom’s pay TV channels.
Laura Abril, senior vp multi-brand for VIMN Iberia, will oversee the Madrid hub and a planned expansion across western and southern Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
Abril will oversee the development, production and distribution of contents in the region, for Viacom’s own branded networks and commissions from pay TV operators, broadcasters and SVOD and social media platforms across these regions.
Abril will work closely with the VIS Americas office opened last year. Headed by Federico Cuervo, VIS Americas has produced more than 900 hours of scripted, comedy, reality and kids’ live-action content out of six production centers across Latin America. These are available for pre-sale or syndication in 2019.
The VIS teams in Argentina and Spain have already collaborated on the development of Spanish-language remake of Hitchcock classic To Catch a Thief, produced between Barcelona and Buenos Aires.
VIS U.K. is currently in production on a number of scripted development projects, including Artist Studios’ Bergerac and Baby Cow’s TV treatment of Amanda Craig’s novel Lie of the Land, as well as its first-ever original production for a non-Viacom channel, ITV, with more details to come. VIS U.K. general manager Joe McLusky and creative director Ed Taylor will report to Offman.
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