Nevision Looks to Tap Into Powerful Market Forces Opening a New Office in Barcelona

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In its latest expansive move,  independent production house Nevision is opening offices in Barcelona, its first in Europe outside its London-based headquarters. 

The Barcelona operation is headed by seasoned publisher, author, journalist and producer Tim Parfitt who will work with Nevision founder James Cabourne to develop scripted series in Spanish for both local and global markets, Nevision announced last week in a written statement. 

First up are three projects, two with scribe-helmer Roger Guäl, who broke out with 2002’s “Smoking Room,” an acerbic take on office politics.  

Parfitt has lived most of his life in Spain, being dispatched to Madrid in 1987 for six weeks to help launch Spanish Vogue. He ended up staying a decade and running the company as CEO of Ediciones Condé Nast, an experience he recounted in memoir “A Load of Bull – An Englishman’s Adventures in Madrid.” He moved to Barcelona in 2007, authoring art-detective crime thriller “The Barcelona Connection,” a small screen adaptation of which is now in development at Nevision.

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The Logic Behind the Barcelona Move

There are other good reasons, however, for Nevision to set up shop in Spain and Barcelona in particular. 

Moving across from Cinenord, Anni Faurbye Fernandez, Moa Westeson and Cindy Hanson set up Nevis Productions in 2020, with offices in Stockholm and Copenhagen and Nevision backing. A year later Nevision launched a bi-coastal U.S. office headed by former NBCUniversal executives Sandy Wax and Vincent Gabriele.

The investment pull-back by streamers is a global phenomenon. Its impact varies, however. Driven by a pull-back in SVOD investment, the drama bubble burst has, however, been “brutal” for Scandinavia, SVT’s head of drama, said at a Göteborg’s TV Drama Vision panel this February. U.S. content spend will plunge 20% over 2022-28, Ampere Analysis has forecast. 

In contrast, after the U.K., South Korea and India, Spain figures as the fourth biggest international market in the world in terms of current series orders by the “global six” streamers, Ampere’s Guy Bisson said at Drama Vision. 

That reflects market impact. In 2023, according to Variety’s calculations, Spanish films and series ranked No. 1 on the Netflix global non-English Top 10 charts for 13 weeks – only bettered by South Korea (22).

Though the creation of international co-productions remains an extraordinary challenge, their number is growing, driven by the ambitions of major players such as public broadcaster RTVE and The Mediapro Studio. RTVE’s latest title, “Weiss & Morales,” linking it with Spain’s Portcabo and Germany’s ZDF and ZDF Studios and Nadcon, has gone into production in the Canary Islands. 

Barcelona is best known for its newest Catalan cinema, a wave of movies launched by a young generation of often women film directors and producers. Catalonia’s government is aiming to build its TV industry, however. Should Nevision choose to shoot in Catalan, it could tap €1.5 million ($1.7 million) grants for Catalan-language series, used, for example, by Canneseries winner “This Is Not Sweden,” a co-production with SVT and Anagram Sweden. 

In separate news, Faurbye Fernandez is joining Nevision’s board with immediate effect.

“Launching an office in a key territory in mainland Europe was the next logical step for Nevision,” said Cabourne. “Spanish-language drama is respected and viewed worldwide and the opportunity to create our own series as well as remaking successful international dramas in Spanish is very exciting. We are also delighted to welcome Anni to the board to help navigate our continued expansion.” 

“The opportunities for Spanish-language drama has proliferated over the last 12 months and we are excited by the possibilities for our content both locally and globally,” Parfitt added. “To have the hugely respected Roger Gual partnering us on our first two projects is a great coup and we look forward to working with him as we develop our slate of projects.”

Following on “Smoking Room,” Gual has gone on to rack up an impressive curriculum as a TV writer, directing and co-writing Netflix’s first original in Spain, 2016’s “Seven Years,” before co-directing the streamer’s first Spanish original series, “Cable Girls” and then episodes of 2022’s “Marea Alta” and “Fanatic.”    

This post was originally published on Variety

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