By Javier Romualdo and José Miguel Blanco
Los Angeles, US, Jul 22 (EFE).- Spain’s president on Thursday presented a plan at NBCUniversal Studios in Los Angeles to a group of executives from companies such as Netflix and HBO to turn Spain into the “Hollywood of Europe.”
Pedro Sánchez outlined the pillars of a plan to which he will allocate 1.6 billion euros ($1.88 billion) to boost Spain’s audiovisual sector, which includes tax incentives for production houses that base themselves in Spain and a special visa to expedite the entry of professionals.
“Spain has all the necessary administrative and fiscal incentives, in addition to all possible landscapes, to receive new projects and create new narratives. We aspire to become, if you will allow us to compare, the Hollywood of Europe,” he said.
Sánchez’s remarks came after a meeting with top executives of Netflix, HBO, WarnerMedia, Disney and Activision during the second leg of his economic tour of the United States, which will conclude on Friday with a visit to tech companies in the San Francisco area.
“The information and entertainment platforms have become the window from which millions of people look at a new reality. They have revolutionized entertainment,” he said.
The president cited the global success of Spanish productions, including “La Casa de Papel” (Money Heist) and “Elite,” as well as foreign productions shot in Spain, such as “Game Of Thrones,” which has boosted tourism in Basque Country. Its prequel, “House of the Dragon,” will be filmed in Spain in the fall.
Sánchez is also looking to take advantage of Brexit to overtake the United Kingdom in the audiovisual sector, and hailed the decision taken by American media conglomerate ViacomCBS, which owns Paramount, to move its production center from London to Madrid.
“Several cross-border TV providers based in the UK before Brexit have now moved their operations to Spain, including our hosts today, NBCUniversal, Sony and Disney, to name just a few,” he said.
These shifts have made Spain second in the European Union, behind Germany, for the most hours of fiction produced, he added.
The audiovisual initiative is part of Spain’s Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan and will also leverage the improvements in technological infrastructure that the government is undertaking.
Another line of action under the initiative includes providing assistance and support to potential investors, both foreign and Spanish companies, interested in globalization.
The goal is to achieve a 30 percent increase in audiovisual production in Spain by 2025. EFE