Spain’s Mediapro Taps Stephen Johnstone to Launch its Independent Production Business in the U.K.

Emiliano De Pablos

Spanish film and TV conglom Mediapro Group has tapped Stephen Johnstone, a former director at ad media giant WPP’s Group M Entertainment, to launch its independent content production business in the U.K..

The London-based operation aims to co-produce with local talent, generate new intellectual properties and raise the prospect of greater collaboration between Mediapro and Group M Entertainment, Mediapro said in a statement.

Johnstone’s appointment as managing director of Mediapro Content U.K. follows those of Laura Fernandez Espeso, director of international content, and Ran Telem, head of international content development, underlining Mediapro’s ambitions for international expansion.

A co-producer alongside HBO, Sky and France’s Canal Plus of upcoming Jude Law-starrer TV series “The Young Pope,” Mediapro is seeking to further increase its creative and commercial collaborations in international drama and entertainment.

Stephen Johnstone was responsible for Group M Entertainment’s business expansion into 10 new territories throughout Europe. Previously, Johnstone worked at Channel 4 and spent 10 years at Turner Broadcasting, where he was European senior vice president of youth channels.

“This is a really competitive market, but we think we still have a lot to offer. Our goal is to work with broadcasters and producers to help bring brilliant ideas and stories to life,” Johnstone said.

He added: “Mediapro is an exceptional company with enviable production experience and talent. Production budgets, particularly in scripted, are rising rapidly everywhere and we need to make quality shows more accessible.”

Partnered by Televisa, WPP and investor Torreal, Mediapro currently operates 32 offices in four continents and teams with the Qatar-based beIN Media Group on sports-rights brokering operations across the world.

Best-known as the co-producer of Woody Allen’s films “Vicky Cristina Barcelona,” “You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger” and “Midnight in Paris,” Mediapro also holds a 7% stake in Spanish broadcaster Atresmedia Group.

Related stories

Mipcom: Spain's Mediapro, Phileas Productions Team on Gameshow 'Crush'

Mediapro Names Laura Fernandez Espeso Director of International Content

Mediapro, Oficina Burman Strike High-End Drama Development Alliance (EXCLUSIVE)

Get more from Variety and Variety411: Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Newsletter