Pursuing its strong dynamic of international growth*, Newen takes a majority stake in the iZen group, one of the key independent players in Spanish drama and factual entertainment.
Founded in 2000 by Jose Velasco, Zebra Producciones merged with Veralia Contenidos (Grupo Vocento) in 2017, becoming iZen, a key group that works successfully with both platforms and Spanish national and regional channels with more than 1400 hours produced. It incorporates several companies including Zebra Producciones, Europroducciones TV, Boca a Boca, Proima, Newco and Hill Valley. Jose Velasco and Sara Fernández-Velasco remain partners and directors of iZen Group.
In 2020, iZen produced the most ambitious Spanish drama on an international scale, El Cid, which was successfully launched on Amazon Prime Video, with a second season to be released on the platform in 2021. iZen has also initiated many developments, such as Memento Mori, adapted from the bestseller by César Pérez Gellida, which will be distributed by Newen Connect. The group has also created and adapted numerous formats of unscripted content, including Insiders, the first reality show created in Spain for Netflix.
iZen has also developed its expansion in the UK market through partnerships with English independent production companies: Chalkboard, nominated this year for the UK « Best Indie », Clapperboard, specialized in drama with three series in production for Channel 5, and the Scottish company Storyboard, specialized in factual entertainment and major documentaries.
For Newen, entering the Spanish market with iZen is strategic. Spain has become a key player in the audiovisual sector thanks to its talents and the attractiveness of its content for international markets. Already present on the French and English-speaking markets, Newen is now taking a leading position in the Spanish-speaking world.
For Romain Bessi, deputy managing director of Newen: « The arrival of iZen in the Newen group marks a major step in our development. These new talents will strengthen the group's creativity. It is a pleasure to work with Jose, Sara and their teams, whom we know well from previous collaborations. Newen is present in all genres and in many more territories to come. With this acquisition, we are now one of the major European players in production and distribution. »
For Jose Velasco, president and founder of iZen: « Our alliance with Newen and our integration into one of the main European industrial players represents a great opportunity for the future and growth of iZen in the Spanish and European audiovisual sector. We are delighted to be part of the great Newen family. Sara and I immediately connected with Bibiane and Romain's creative and commercial vision. Throughout the years, Vocento has been an excellent and loyal partner, and I am sure we will find new forms of collaboration in the future. »
* With the acquisitions in 2017 of Tuvalu in Holland, then in 2018 of Nimbus in Denmark and Pupkin in Holland, De Mensen in Belgium and Reel One in Canada, the US and the UK in 2019, followed by the creation of Ringside Studio in 2020 in the UK, then Fiction house in 2021.