FlixOle Spanish cinema triples pandemic user numbers and will strengthen its communication to establish itself as the key platform to access 100% of Spanish cinema: The pandemic has also been noticed on FlixOlé, a video-on-demand platform specializing in Spanish cinema.

It tripled its user base during confinement in the first months of the health crisis. Many have stayed, thanks to the loyalty work that the company did, explains María José Revaldería, director of FlixOlé, in conversation with Business Insider Spain.

The manager behind FlixOlé is none other than Enrique Cerezo, businessman, president of Atlético de Madrid and, above all, leader of the film sector in Spain. Several headlines claim that he alone owns more than 70% of Spanish film production.

FlixOlé has completed this month of November two years in active. "The balance is very good, we have had a good reception by the viewers, and if the Spanish user wants to enjoy a large part of Spanish cinema he has to go to our platform, because it is all in FlixOlé and exclusively", details Cerezo himself in an interview with this media.

The Spanish platform does not compete with HBO or Amazon Prime Video. Nor with others like HBO, and not even with Filmin, which is also Spanish and has Spanish production in its catalog. "Our advantage is that we are hardly anyone's competition, because whoever wants to see films by Berlanga, Bardem, Forqué or all the great directors of Spanish cinema, everything is in FlixOlé".

FlixOle Spanish cinema triples pandemic user numbers

Cerezo emphasizes that while it is true that Filmin also distributes Spanish premieres, its catalog aims to be rather " an anthology ""of the entire history of Spanish cinema". "On the sidelines," he clarifies, "that we also have great Italian titles, such as the Bicycle Thief, soul without conscience... hundreds of Italian films with their hundreds of important directors." They also incorporate works by RKO, one of the historical majors of the industry, responsible for films such as Citizen Kane.

The Spanish platform thus seeks to be more than just a video-on-demand service: it is also a museum and an unparalleled film archive. María José Revaldería, the director of the platform, also puts the value in the "artisan" work carried out in the facilities of the Cerezo business group: restorations of cult and classic films are carried out, even from works of the 30s.

If the catalog has 3,000 films, at least 2,300 are from Mercury Films, the production company of Cerezo. At the moment, of course, the platform is not profitable, although it has a competitive price that makes it an ideal complement to other subscription services. Revaldería and Cerezo agree that if 70% of Spanish cinema is in the hands of Mercury and FlixOlé, the goal is that 30% is also.

"Not that it owns, but that all Spanish cinema must be in FlixOlé: we want to be that platform", Desgrana Revaldería. For this reason, like the big players in the industry, FlixOlé is also participating in the production of new works. Specifically, he has already participated in two documentaries, one of them half-produced with Antonio Resines on the history of Spanish cinema. Another, a retrospective of horror cinema of the 60s and 70s.

Now they are going to produce fiction as they try to consolidate their user base and encourage the communication of their product. Meanwhile, they continue to improve their technology "month by month". They store their catalog in the cloud, and entrust their technological solution to Magine, a Swedish firm that offers B2B catalog players and platforms.

FlixOle Spanish cinema triples pandemic user numbers

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"If a platform broadcasts in Spain, it is normal to pay taxes in Spain," according to Enrique Cerezo, one of the country's largest film entrepreneurs

"If a platform, whatever its type, whatever its country, whatever its origin, issues in Spain, the normal thing is that it pays taxes in Spain."

This is how forceful Enrique Cerezo has shown himself in a recent interview with Business Insider Spain, after Netflix announced that next year it will open a subsidiary in Spain to manage the subscriptions that generate this market. In the end, it implies that Netflix will pay more taxes than it paid until now.

Cherry blossom. "You will not pay more. He will pay what is due to them."

"If a platform issues in Spain it will have to pay taxes in Spain, as I pay them or as Filmin pays them. All companies that do business in Spain have to acclimatise to taxes. If I do business in the United States or in France, I have to pay what I owe," he insisted.

Enrique Cerezo, President of Atlético de Madrid, Entrepreneur of the Spanish film industry and owner for two years of his video on demand platform, FlixOlé, reflects on the announcement of Netflix. The US platform was the subject of controversy after in 2018 it paid just 3, 000 euros for taxes throughout the Year in Spain.

FlixOlé does not intend to compete with Netflix, nor with Amazon, HBO and not even Filmin: its main value is in the catalog. 70% of Spanish cinema is in the hands of Cerezo, and it is what fundamentally nourishes FlixOlé content, which during the pandemic tripled its user base. In addition, from its production company, Mercury, is also carried out an audiovisual restoration work craftsman, which allows you to watch classic movies in high definition through its subscription service.

But both Cerezo and the director of the platform, María José Revaldería, agree that the streaming sector is headed for regulation. "As already happened with pay TV," Rivacha Revaldería. "At the level of investments, of taxes. It will be regulated little by little, not at the level of competition: I do not think we will reach that point", he points out.

Revaldería, like Cherry, sees good news in the Netflix announcement. "They will pay like everyone else-more money for the sector." He does argue that it is very difficult to "regulate country by country", so Revaldería hopes to see a consolidation process with mergers between streaming services. "The market will eventually be organized."

Cerezo has been president of EGEDA since the late 90s, a copyright management entity that defends its associates, film producers in Spain and Latin America. For this reason, the Spanish businessman has vehemently criticized piracy in the past. Since Netflix landed in Spain in 2015, the Spanish user has been educated and now pays for content.

However, Cerezo believes that there is still "another type of piracy": "people who sell films that are technically Pirates and some platforms upload them. It's one thing for them to buy in good faith and it's another thing for them to know that there are a number of films that are going through their platform and are not properly licensed."

The director of FlixOlé, María José Revaldería, confirms that the development and emergence of new platforms have configured "an important alternative to piracy". "I think we've helped." On whether it had been possible before the arrival of Netflix five years ago in Spain, Revaldería believes that yes, "although it would have been much more difficult".

"Before FlixOlé, Enrique Cerezo had already worked on the development of a platform that united content from Latin America as in Spain. It was to compete with piracy. But it was very difficult then for people to get used to paying to watch content, and less so if it was content on the internet that had not been transferred to television." Revaldería believes that the fact that many televisions now incorporate internet connection and platform applications has also helped a lot to end the consumption of pirated content.

Cerezo is, in addition to being an entrepreneur, a film lover. "And the Spanish happens the same as any cinema in the world: you see more cinema than ever, it is a buoyant moment, but there is a very important drop in spectators in the room. It is a real catastrophe. But cinema will always be Cinema and cinemas will always be there".

Despite the fact that its own platform, FlixOlé, has registered a spectacular growth of users, Cerezo still rejects that platforms are the future of the industry. "Cinema is the mother of all television: when you are the mother, it is very difficult for children to forget about it." In addition, he recalls that cinemas "continue to reinvent themselves" and in them "you can already eat or drink and the seats are increasingly comfortable".

Movie theaters " have been around for more than a century." "It is very difficult for people to forget what they assume," trench.

The director of the platform, for her part, also delves into that the film industry "and fiction" in Spain have changed with the arrival of large platforms. "Spain has very good talent, it has always had good directors, actors and technicians who have worked in Hollywood". "Thanks to the platforms, that talent has been able to internationalize." Put on the table the example of the paper house. Thus, he believes that the arrival of more competitors "helps everyone", because it puts"Spanish talent" at the center.

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