We want to celebrate Spain’s unique way of embracing life and blending it with fiction. And we want to showcase Spain’s ability to make fantasy come true!” 

Elisa Carbonell, CEO of ICEX

Spain is Country of Honour for the 40th edition of MIPCOM CANNES. We spoke to Elisa Carbonell, CEO of the Country of Honour co-organiser, ICEX.

SPAIN has been named MIPCOM CANNES Country of Honour as the country is experiencing a marked rise in scripted and non-scripted productions, and with Spanish content consistently ranking amongst the highest viewed worldwide. Further enhancing Spain’s status, the European powerhouse has also established itself as a major international production hub, benefiting from rising demand among domestic and international streamers.

Commenting on the prestigious partnership, María González Veracruz, Spain’s Secretary of State for Telecommunications and Digital Infrastructure, said: “Spain being chosen as Country of Honour at MIPCOM CANNES is jumping into the front line of entertainment and audiovisual creation at the international level. It is a leap that can only be good for our companies, the industry’s employment, talent and creativity.”

A prominent series of events will be curated by MIPCOM CANNES in partnership with ICEX Spain Trade & Investment, a division of the Ministry of Economy, Commerce and Business. Designed to promote further international collaboration, these events will range from high profile screenings, panels focusing on co-production opportunities and a Spanish-themed MIPCOM CANNES Opening Night Party.

As momentum builds towards MIPCOM CANNES, we spoke to ICEX CEO Elisa Carbonell to understand why now is an opportune moment for Spain to take its engagement with the global content market to the next level.

Elisa Carbonell, CEO of ICEX


Holà, Elisa! Why is now a good time for Spain to be Country of Honour? Does the decision reflect trends in the global content business?

Elisa Carbonell: The global content industry is definitely looking at Spain. In recent years, Spain has become a major hub for production in Europe, as shown by the increasing quantity of content produced here. According to the European Audiovisual Observatory, film production in Spain has increased more than 46% since 2019. Most TV fiction commissioned by global streamers in Europe is produced in Spain.

Importantly for Spanish creators, their productions are being watched all over the world. Thanks to their universal appeal, Spanish content consistently ranks among the most viewed worldwide, month after month. Spain’s productions are also gaining increased recognition and receiving a growing number of awards.

Comprehensive public support during the last three years has paid off, enabling companies to reinforce their position. This has created great conditions for talent to flourish. Against this backdrop, MIPCOM 2024 is the perfect opportunity to celebrate the excellence, creativity and professionalism of Spain’s content industry.


What do you hope it will achieve for Spanish companies?

In short, more business opportunities. The spotlight at MIPCOM represents a fabulous opportunity to enhance the visibility of Spanish companies and content.

This is extremely important in a competitive and dynamic context. Today, companies need to constantly forge alliances and collaborate in order to innovate their production processes and enter new markets. We believe creating a framework for companies to communicate their work and capabilities will help them find more partners for producing and distributing their projects. This is aligned with ICEX’s strategy, which is based on high-impact actions, promoting visibility, networking and co-production.

Being the Country of Honour at MIPCOM CANNES will also allow us to convey how strong Spain’s industry is as a whole. Our aim is to help Spain’s audiovisual ecosystem keep on thriving, generating value and telling extraordinary stories.


Spain has always been a centre of excellence for content production, but in recent years the business has hit new heights. Why is that?

During the last three years, there has been increased public support through the Spain Audiovisual Hub plan. The goal of the SAH has been to transform Spain’s audiovisual ecosystem by promoting the industry as a global player, strengthening training and talent, attracting foreign investment, and reducing administrative costs.

This effort has proved very timely since the market has undergone profound changes during these years. The demand for content has grown significantly, but so have production standards and the budgets needed to get the greenlight. Platforms are more selective in choosing content and the audience is more demanding. This is where Spain’s creativity and talent is making a difference, by being able to adapt content to market trends without losing quality or relevance. Spanish companies have been able to produce many national and international hits playing with a wide variety of formats and genres. This shows that the Spanish sector has a long way to go.


Can you pick out a few examples of excellent Spanish content?

I will let the audience give the answer! Spanish productions are among the most successful content for the main OTT platforms worldwide. According to data provided by Parrot (at time of writing), the top 3 most in-demand TV shows worldwide in Spanish language are productions originating in Spain (Berlin, Zorro, and Red Queen). Berlin, a spin-off of Money Heist, has already achieved 11 million views. Another production, A Perfect Story, which I personally love, stands out as the most-watched Spanish series of the second half of 2023 for Netflix with 24.4 million views.

Moreover, seven out 10 of the most in-demand Spanish language movies are from Spain. Number one is Bayona’s Society of the Snow, which reached 100 million views on Netflix in its first three months. My Fault, Robot Dreams and Nowhere are also delivering outstanding performances. In general, audience demand for Spanish content has tripled in five years. I’d like to think this is not only driven by demographics, but by the excellent quality of Spain’s productions in particular.


Spain has terrific locations and tax incentives. Are you keen to promote the country as a place where producers can come to shoot?

EC: Certainly, Spain has become a world-renowned production centre. We offer a wide range of advantages that make us extremely competitive compared to other destinations. In ICEX, we participate in the most important professional forums and festivals in the world and in more than twenty international markets, such as MIPCOM, to promote the sector and make first-hand contact with interested investors, to whom we explain the measures that have made us a very competitive destination.

 These include tax incentives, which is a key factor, as well as fast-tracking of work visas for professionals, which is part of a broad package of improvements approved by the different administrations to support the sector. I would also like to highlight our network of infrastructures, our high-skilled and talented workforce, a mature industrial fabric, European standards of legal and intellectual protection, and our standard of living and quality of life. To all this we add a privileged climate, a great diversity of landscapes and an optimal ecosystem of co-operation and institutional support. These advantages explain why major European audiovisual conglomerates and American streamers already trust us to film and invest in Spain.


Do you think Spain makes a good co-production partner?

 Co-production is an intense relationship that must be built on good projects and trust. Working with Spanish companies offers this confidence thanks to its highly skilled professionals, structures favouring creativity and innovation and the possibility of reaching new markets. Don’t forget Spain’s strategic capability in terms of building bridges between Latin America and Europe. And, as previously mentioned, we have top-notch tax incentives, considered among the best worldwide.

Anyway, an example is worth a thousand words. This is not Sweden is a co-production between RTVE, TV3, Anagram, SVT, NDR, YLE, and the Media Programme. Scar is the first co-production between Spain and Serbia. Las Pelotaris 1926, by ViX and The Mediapro Studio, is another current example, as well as Isla Brava, also for ViX with Onza Entertainment. Among others, the highly-anticipated TV mini-series Weiss & Morales is co-produced by RTVE, Portocabo, Nadcon, ZDF and ZDF Studios.


It is early days, but what activities are you currently planning in Cannes? Will this be supported by strong attendance from Spanish companies?

We are very excited about the MIPCOM Country of Honour programme we are preparing. Through keynotes, panels and presentations we want to give a comprehensive overview of the state of Spain’s industry, with the participation of filmmakers, talent, showrunners and top-tier executives. It will be the perfect opportunity to get to know the creative process behind well-known and soon-to-be hits. And it will also be the moment to reflect on new data and statistics, and contribute to the conversation on what will define the TV industry next year.

All this in addition to screenings of highly anticipated series and projects. Actually, we want to showcase as much content as possible. Content, talent and companies is what ultimately gives meaning to the brand Audiovisual from Spain. That’s why we are convinced that many companies will join us celebrating Spain’s great creativity.


Do you have an overall message for delegates at MIPCOM CANNES?

We want to celebrate Spain’s unique way of embracing life and blending it with fiction. And we want to showcase Spain’s ability to make fantasy come true!


Register now to join ICEX and Audiovisual from Spain and celebrate with us the 40th edition of the Mother of all entertainment content markets !

About Author

Julian Newby is editor in chief of MIP Publications, namely the MIPTV/MIPCOM Previews, daily News magazines and supplements. He is also co-founder of Boutique Editions, a UK-based publishing and design house providing products and services for the international film, TV and creative communities.

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