Madrid-based Zeta Studios, producer of “Elite” and “García!”, marks the first business step in international expansion outside Spain. has appointed Marcelo Tamburri, one of Latin America’s leading TV execs, to the newly created position of International Content Director.
Split from the sale of publishing company Grupo Zeta to Prensa Ibérica in 2019, and rebranded from Zeta Audiovisual, when it comes to individual titles. Zeta Studios has one of the largest international reach of any production house in Spain.
The appointment comes as Netflix prepares the bow of “Elite” season 7 on October 20, making “Elite” one of its longest-running streamer series and one of the most successful from outside the US. Netflix’s Top 10 most watched non-English series ever on the OTT service with 334.8 million and 302.2 million hours watched.
“Love at First Kiss,” a rom-com movie, hit #1 on Netflix’s worldwide non-English movie charts in March.
However, Tamburri’s appointment marks a strategic move that takes Zeta’s expansion to another level. Well known and much loved, Tamburri will remain based in Mexico City where he served from October 2020 to April this year as VP, scripted content development at WarnerMedia Latin America and finally Warner Bros. Discovery Latin America.
“We want to gain a foothold in Mexico and the rest of Latin America, but we think internationally and do it in the most organic way possible,” said Antonio Asensio Mosbah, president of Zeta Studios. Variety.
“Marcelo has all the experience in the world, he knows the market and this is an important added value, and he knows how to create series that are loved in Mexico and throughout the Latin American region,” he added.
“I am thrilled to be able to support Antonio Asensio and to collaborate with the team of Zeta Studios, to further stimulate international expansion and to do it above all with quality and originality, taking care of series and feature films that we will produce outside Spain . added Tamburri.
Spain and Mexico are the two largest TV producers in the Spanish-speaking world. They also share the same language and many of their biggest hits bring to mind “Money Heist,” “Elite,” “Who Killed Sara?” – success in recasting melodrama into a genre-bending mix with a modern edge and high production values.
Much of Asensio’s family lives in Mexico – he is half-Mexican, married to a Mexican, has some business interests in the country and has successfully introduced Mexican artists to major titles, such as Danna Paola in “Elite” and Erick Elias in “Días mejores,” he remarked Variety.
That said, “Marcelo knows how to make TV that can find an easier place in Mexico, he has experience with melodrama and knows how to handle it well,” he added.
Slate from Zeta Studios: breadth and platforming
Since 2019, Zeta Studios in Spain has focused on building a wide range of titles, from the mass appeal of ‘Elite’ to titles such as the soon-to-be released ‘Te estoy amando locamente’, a feature from Alejandro Marín’s LGBTQ period which have more of an indie appeal.
Series, such as the upcoming “Picadero” and “The Chauffeur’s Son”, have been selected for Europe’s top project competitions – “Picadero” for the 2021 Series Mania Forum Co-Pro Pitching Sessions, “The Chauffeur’s Son” for this year’s Berlinale Showcase of the Co-Pro series.
They also balance a genre cartilage with distinctive elements.
“Picadero” weighs in as a Barcelona high society crime investigation drama with an LGBT and libertine sexual edge; Based on true events, “The Chauffeur’s Son” is billed as a “journalism, blackmail and corruption thriller”, charting how the most modern part of Spina emerging from Franco’s dictatorship was at times governed by a mixture of horse trading, coercion and illicit profits.
The common denominator of Zeta Studios titles is that they are mostly made for or with streaming services: for Netflix, Prime Video (action comedy “Sin huellas”), Prime Video and Paramount+ in Latin America (the grieving therapy group drama “Días mejores”) , HBO Max (the large-scale action adventure “¡García!”), Movistar Plus+ (late night radio dramedy “Reyes de la Noche”) and Atresplayer (the upcoming teen drama “Red Flags”).
What Zeta Studios and Tamburri have to offer
“Mexico has a very competitive TV market that knows how to do its job very well,” said Asensio. “Although there are exceptions, the lion’s share of the series is for free-to-air audiences. As a foreign company, we will try to bring titles that have distinctive elements.”
Zeta Studios will also be open to co-production in many cases. “Mexico has a greater tradition of co-production than Spain,” Asensio said.
Tamburri can bring to the table his high-level involvement in the major paradigm shifts in the dizzying recent evolution of the high-end TV scene in Latin America.
Tamburri worked for Turner for 16 years from Argentina, where the company grew into a top US cable TV company in Latin America and distributed US content. those, “The Cockfighter” and “La Fragilidad de los Cuerpos”, both made in co-production, earned Conecta Fiction the two galas of its first edition in Santiago de Compostela in 2017.
Tamburri was hounded in 2018 by Tomás Yankelevich to move to Mexico and lead the development of Turner Latin America across Latin America as TLA wanted to ramp up original series production to about 12-15 in two years for TNT and Space.
With the broadcast industry in Latin America appearing to have shifted to a different tenor, Tamburri can bring his insider knowledge of platform needs in Mexico, far-reaching creative talent relationships and enthusiasm for production partnerships to Zeta Studios.
“I hope to contribute to Antonio and the Zeta team, my experience in generating projects, taking into account the vision, necessity and parameters of the platforms. Business and industry have moved to a deeper analysis of business effectiveness,” said Tamburri Variety.
“The big challenge is to offer something different and a big goal is collaboration, as in co-production, which means we share risk, and not only work with our own productions, but also see the opportunity to do other productions and collaborations with other to develop production houses. he added.