Telenovelas in Eastern Europe Bandeirantes’ João Carlos Saad Dori Media’s Nadav Palti www.tvnovelas.ws
DISCOP EDITION THE MAGAZINE OF TELENOVELAS
Perfect pair: Gabriela is one of Caracol’s top shows for DISCOP.
Caracol TV Internacional
BUENOS AIRES: Europe has become an increasingly significant part of Telefe International’s business, for both completed program sales and formats.“We have been doing quite well in Eastern and Western Europe,” says Michelle Wasserman, the head of international distribution for programming, formats and production services. “Through the early 2000s our titles became very popular especially in Eastern Europe.” Top titles over the years have included Muñeca brava, Montecristo and Amor en custodia (Love’s Guard ), as well as Floricienta (Flinderella), a series that solidified Telefe as a leading provider of youth-skewing novelas. The Argentine broadcaster,Wasserman continues, “developed the so-called ‘breakthrough telenovelas.’We were the first ones to produce a telenovela for the prime-time slot of 10 p.m. oriented to men and women, and we have been [pioneers] in developing content for teens and children.” New for DISCOP are Legacy of Passion, Don Juan and His Fair Lady: Songs from the Heart, season three of TeenAngels, Taking Lives and Telefe’s latest hit, The Successful Mr. & Mrs. Pells.
BOGOTÁ:Caracol TV Internacional is showcasing several new novelas and series at DISCOP that have already performed well in their native Colombia, as well as in other markets.The catalogue includes Gabriela, Every Woman Hates Bermudez, Beautiful, Love Her to Death, Neighbors and Roman x 2. “These productions have performed extremely well in Latin America,achieving the top positions in all the countries where they have aired,” says Camila Reyes, a sales executive at the company. The Central and Eastern European region is a priority for Caracol’s international distribution business.The company is following up on the success of The Cartel, which Reyes describes as its biggest hit last year.“It is a show that was sold to more than 15 territories before even being on the air,” she says.“It then fulfilled expectations when it premiered in Colombia [in June] 2008, breaking ratings records and then continued doing the same in every territory where it has aired.” Reyes continues, “At Caracol we are always innovating, our series have trendy topics—like The Cartel and Without Breasts There Is No Paradise.”
Artear Argentina BUENOS AIRES: In Gypsy Blood, two families divided by a 25-year-old feud find themselves enmeshed in each other’s affairs. The series is one of Artear Argentina’s top offerings for DISCOP, alongside 099 Central, Love in Blue, which focuses on a police officer and promises a mix of love, action and comedy. “We have a wide range of novelas,” says Mariana Fernández, a sales manager in Artear Argentina’s international sales department.“The most [important] thing about most of our novelas is that they appeal to men, too, due to the interesting stories, the presence of more action and intense romance.” Fernandez is optimistic about DISCOP this year, following a string of recent sales to Russia, Poland, Ukraine and Hungary, among other territories.“We think the quality of our novelas will suit the needs of the different channels in the region.”
Editor Anna Carugati
Executive Editor Mansha Daswani
A look of longing: Europe is a key market for Telefe, which is presenting the novela Legacy of Passion for buyers.
Publisher Ricardo Seguin Guise
MEXICO CITY: Already home to the substantial library churned out by the Mexican broadcasting giant Televisa, the distribution arm Televisa Internacional recently took on the representation rights to titles from elsewhere in Latin America, including Pol-ka’s The Brave Ones, about three brothers separated at birth, and Ideas del Sur’s Attraction x 4, a musical family telenovela. “We produce a lot and we always have new releases,” says Claudia Sahab, the company’s director of sales for Europe. “Now, with the associations we’ve made, we have more in our catalogue.We have different kinds of telenovelas, different styles, which is making us even more competitive in the market.” Sahab has been driving Televisa’s business across Europe, in the more traditional novela markets, such as Romania and Bulgaria, and in newer novela converts such as France and Italy. “The classic telenovelas are still doing great,” Sahab says on what’s in demand. Buyers want “a very high-quality production. Fortunately,Televisa has this.” The entertainment format Dancing for a Dream is also highlighted, alongside the companion series The Show of Dreams.
Managing Editor Kristin Brzoznowski
Production and Design Director Lauren M. Uda
Art Director Phyllis Q. Busell
Sales and Marketing Director Tatiana Rozza
Sales and Marketing Manager Kelly Quiroz
Business Affairs Manager Rae Matthew
Ricardo Seguin Guise
President Anna Carugati
Executive VP and Group Editorial Director Mansha Daswani
VP of Content Strategy
IN THIS ISSUE Flying High Latin American novela distributors are continuing to find brisk business in Central and Eastern Europe Interviews Bandeirantes’ João Carlos Saad Dori Media’s Nadav Palti
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Televisa’s Dare to Dream.
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Distributors of Latin American telenovelas are continuing to find brisk business in Central and Eastern Europe. By Mansha Daswani The story of the telenovela genre in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) is filled with as many ups and downs as any good romantic tale. In the ’90s, stations that were popping up across newly liberalized markets were in need of cost-effective, volume programming deals to build viewer loyalty. Latin America’s telenovela distributors were there to supply that demand, in the process developing passionate fans of the genre across the region. But as broadcasters began investing in local productions, the plethora of slots for imported novelas began to dry up. Today, however, the tide seems to be turning again. Distributors agree that there are two forces at play when it comes to the resurgent demand for Latin American novelas in this part of the world.The first is the economic downturn that is taking its toll on broadcasters around the world. “We have believed for some time now that the financial crisis will enhance the selling of telenovelas and daily dramas,” says Nadav Palti, the president and CEO of Dori Media Group.“Telenovelas are known for their ability to create strong loyalty and commitment viewing habits and are relatively low cost. Meaning, telenovelas supply high value per rating point.” PROVIDING A SOLUTION
“That part of the world is getting hit quite heavily,” says Marcel Vinay, the CEO of Comarex, which represents TV Azteca’s large portfolio of content. “Local production is going to decrease” as networks scale back their budgets. “There will be a demand for foreign [content]—fortunately, we produce more than 1,500 hours of new programming every year.That is an opportunity for us to be there with our clients. We’re supporting them through this time…with innovative, creative ways for them to acquire programming.” The second factor aiding the novela business is that the television market in CEE is still maturing, and opportunities for growth remain. “There are new TV stations opening in some of these countries—they need good content and they are coming to us,” says Claudia Sahab, the director of sales for Europe at Televisa Internacional; she adds that the region accounts for 55 to 60 percent of 30
Feeling blue: One of Artear’s top titles for DISCOP is 099 Central, Love in Blue.
the company’s business in Europe.Televisa has volume deals in place with a number of key partners, including Acasa in Romania and HRT in Croatia. “The sustained increase of digital television channels across the region will govern programming needs and requirements,” says César Díaz, the VP of sales for Venevision International. “This is the area where we can help our clientele by offering our diverse catalogue of programs, which have a proven track record of obtaining high ratings with magnificent cost-effective ratios.” For DISCOP, the Venevision sales team will be focusing on the teen series ¡Qué clase de amor! (The High School Nerd), as well as La vida entera (For a Lifetime) and Alma indomable (Untamed Soul). At Artear Argentina, an in-house distribution team, established just four months ago, has already shored up slots for its titles in such markets as Russia, Poland, Ukraine and Hungary, says Mariana Fernández, a On the dark side: Dori Media is expecting strong interest for its youth-skewing sales manager in the international sales vampire-themed novela Split. department at Artear. “We have a wide range of novelas, from historic ones to Falling Angel, Simply Delicious and Daniela at DISCOP. comedies to action” to youth-skewing properties. “The most “Buyers are now, more than ever, searching for high-quality [important] thing about most of our novelas is that they appeal products, as they are maintaining or increasing the number to men, too, due to the interesting stories, the presence of of time slots dedicated to telenovelas—they want the best more action and intense romance.” value for their money,” she adds. New titles from the company that will be available at Telemundo has licensed Victoria across the region, and has DISCOP include 099 Central, Love in Blue, centered on a 30- seen success with Betrayed, which, Pillow says, “attained 60year-old police officer, and Gypsy Blood. percent market share in Bulgaria and the leading position in While sellers agree that there is certainly a demand for Serbia, Armenia, Poland and Georgia.” novelas in CEE, many add that broadcasters have become Pillow continues, “In Eastern and Central Europe, the nomuch more discerning. “The selectiveness of our clients velas that are in demand are those that contain a classic romantic has increased,” says Melissa Pillow, the sales director for story, that take place in an urban setting and have an attractive CEE at Telemundo Internacional, which is highlighting element for audiences of adults 18 to 35, such as secondary characters that this demographic group can identify with.” A POINT OF DISTINCTION
When approaching buyers who are very clear about what they’re looking for, having a diversified and distinctive novela slate is crucial. Michelle Wasserman, the head of international distribution for programming, formats and production services at Telefe International, points to her company’s ability to fulfill the needs of a cross section of broadcasters. The Argentinean distributor’s slate runs the gamut from teen and children’s novelas to family fare, classic love stories, suspense tales and more. The company has licensed Montecristo, Amor en custodia (Love’s Guard) and Floricienta (Flinderella) across CEE. “Due to the current circumstances, people are looking at the telenovela genre as a driver of entertainment,” says Wasserman regarding what’s currently working in the market. Buyers, she says, are looking for feel-good stories with happy endings, and Telefe aims to deliver with its DISCOP slate, which features Legacy of Passion, Taking Lives and season three of TeenAngels. Sahab, at Televisa, similarly singles out her company’s ability to target a large variety of buyers with its titles, which 32
Perfect couple: Venevision is looking to secure slots for novelas like For a Lifetime (La vida entera).
include a mix of teen fare, contemporary series, costume dramas and more, such as Love Spell, Dare to Dream and Summer of Love.“Televisa has a lot of content. We produce a lot, we have 10 to 12 new releases per year. Now, with the associations we’ve made with our partners in Argentina and Colombia, we have more in our catalogue, which is making us more competitive in the market,” Sahab says. Caracol TV Internacional, according to Camila Reyes, the sales executive for Eastern Europe, has built a business on offering novelas that “go beyond the classic romantic drama without leaving that aside, and have a sense of humor and a more lively touch that attracts audiences beyond women, who are the typical audience of telenovelas.” Reyes is already seeing strong demand from broadcasters for the new series Love Her to Death, which she describes as a “classic drama telenovela,” as well as for The Cartel. Also being presented to buyers in Budapest are Gabriela, Beautiful, Neighbors and Roman x 2. “Eastern Europe loves the classic telenovela format,” says Marc Paneque, the director of international sales at RCTV International. He adds that the most important elements are a great story that Family ties: Caracol, which is showcasing Love Her to Death, is looking to viewers can relate to emotionally, and an attractive- offer buyers novelas that target men as well as women. looking cast. “In our latest crop of titles, we have At Dori Media, Palti stresses that the company is offering what great diversity, great stories, and plenty of titles that buyers will he calls “new-velas, which suit the region, as they contain all the find to be very attractive prospects.” RCTV’s recent business in CEE has included licensing basic elements of the traditional telenovelas, but with an edge— Passionate Revenge (La trepadora) to Bulgaria and Romania, and their story lines are more up to date and unique; their pace is Beauty Is Not Enough (Ser bonita no basta) and Chameleon faster; and the way they are shot and edited is innovative.” (Camaleona) to Armenia and Bulgaria. Paneque says he is eyeing growth opportunities in Ukraine, Belarus, Lithuania and GOING LOCAL Estonia. At DISCOP, he will be talking to his clients about Dori Media has already fared well in CEE with Lalola (which has World’s Apart (Calle luna, calle sol) and The Lady (Toda una been licensed to more than 60 territories worldwide, including Russia, Poland, Greece, Bulgaria, Romania, Czech Republic, dama), among others. Raphael Corrêa Netto, Globo TV Inter- Hungary, Macedonia, Cyprus, Serbia and Montenegro, and national’s director of international sales, says that Turkey) and the multiplatform project Amanda O.Also available the company is coming to the market with sev- at DISCOP are Champs 12,Split and Big Deal for teen audiences, eral new novelas, all of which delivered impres- as well as Danny Hollywood, Cupido: El negocio del amor (Cupid:The sive ratings in their home market of Brazil. Business of Love) and Maybe This Time. Palti notes that about 70 percent of Dori Media’s business With The Prophet, The Favorite, Forbidden Desire and Pure Beauty, the company is looking to from CEE is finished program distribution, with the remainreplicate the success it has had in the region ing 30 percent generated by format sales.Acknowledging that with Pages of Life and Seven Sins.“Countries the economic crisis will undoubtedly have an impact on Dori’s format business, Palti remains optimistic that there are like Romania, Albania and Russia are important partners for Globo TV still prospects available. “Local programmers and producers are increasingly seeking International; they historically acquire our products and air them during prime to program or adapt telenovelas containing elements of comtime,” Corrêa says.“We’ve even noticed edy and romance,” Palti says. “Humor/love are the perfect escapism, a language that is universally recognized and sought the development of new markets like after.That mix of ingredients has been a winning formula for Croatia, Bulgaria and Georgia.” Comarex, meanwhile, will be countless channels and producers worldwide.” Palti cites as an example Dori’s success in Russia, where two showcasing new productions like the thriller Demente at DISCOP, as of the company’s novelas have been adapted locally: Lalola, well as Morena (Pasión morena).The which airs as MarGosha, and The Champion. Russia has been of crucial importance to Telefe’s business in shows, says Vinay, point to TV Azteca’s abilities to bring “innova- CEE, says Wasserman. A version of Hermanos & Detectives tion to the market.” (Detectives, Brothers & Co.) was made in the country, as was one 34
Sealed with a kiss: Globo’s new novela portfolio for DISCOP includes The Prophet.
of Montecristo. “These two formats were in the top five within fiction programming in Russia during 2008,” she says. Currently, a Russian version of Telefe’s new hit series The Successful Mr. and Mrs. Pells is in development. Wasserman explains that Telefe has become such a prolific provider of scripted formats because it has remained flexible with its clients, offering them the option of production services, tapping into Telefe’s own capabilities in Argentina, or just providing the scripts.“Basically, it will depend on several variables in each country, such as the capacity of production, the size of the economy, the kind of client (broadcaster, production company, distributor, IPTV platform), time slot, etc.” Caracol, too, is looking at format opportunities, particularly on its worldwide hit Without Breasts There Is No Paradise. And at Comarex,Vinay notes the format success of Lo que callamos las mujeres (Women’s Stories).“This series offers much more than giving great ratings for our clients. It’s also helping women overcome obstacles. That is a feel-good project because you get ratings and you contribute to society.”
Venevision, similarly, is expanding its horizons, with its internal formats and production-services division rolling out novela scripts as well as shorter-run dramas and game shows. “Our team of expert producers and directors can collaborate with local television [stations] to adapt and produce successful and proven programs catered to their respective markets and demographics,” Díaz says. And Dori Media recently clinched a deal with HBO Central Europe for local versions of the daily drama In Treatment in Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Romania and Moldova. It’s an Israeli format that has proven to be a hit for HBO in the U.S. For Globo, DISCOP will present an opportunity for the company to showcase its new non-scripted formats slate to CEE buyers for the first time. The portfolio, which includes Laugh-O-Meter and Xtreme Connection, “are appropriate to channels with different characteristics, be they general or niche,” says Corrêa. Outside of formats, Globo is touting comedies, such as The Cleaning Lady and Normal People, the Globo DOC series and the mini-series Maysa:When the Heart Sings. Novela distributors may be diversifying, but no one is in any rush to abandon the genre altogether.The economic times are clearly challenging in Central and Eastern Europe, but the opportunities are there for the taking and the telenovela has proven to be a resilient, enduring form of content.“The telenovela is a universal and undying genre,” says Dori Media’s Palti,“which can be transformed or adapted to different viewers, since the genre goes beyond different cultures, languages and social strata.”
But,Televisa’s Sahab notes, there are challenges in convincing broadcasters to produce a local version of a Latin American telenovela, particularly now that the region has developed its own indigenous novela-production community. “The local production of telenovelas has grown a lot, like in Romania, where they have done a great job with these—but with their own original stories,” she says. “There is interest but they are more interested in developing their own stories than in buying successful stories from someone else.” Therefore, distributors are exploring other ways to expand their presence in the region.Televisa, for one, has had tremendous success with Dancing for a Dream, which has rolled out in Romania, Slovakia and the Czech Republic, among other markets. Sahab is aiming to replicate that success with the new entertainment formats The Show of Dreams and Hazme Reír (Make Me Laugh). Comarex, too, is not just focusing on novela formats, offering up the fantasy game show Asgaard.“We’re exploring other genres outside of telenovelas,”Vinay says. 36
Someone to lean on: Passionate Revenge is among RCTV’s novela highlights. 6/09
Grupo Bandeirantes de Comunicação is a major producer of Brazilian telenovelas, among other content. Its portfolio includes The Restaurateurs, a contemporary romantic comedy; Dance Dance Dance, about a girl who dreams of becoming a great ballerina; and Forbidden Passions, which is filled with seduction, secrets and conflict. Bandeirantes’ productions are deployed on its variety of platforms in its home market and sold worldwide. It runs two free-TV channels, Band and Rede 21, the pay-TV channels BandNews, BandSports and Terraviva, and the cable-TV platform TV Cidade, as well as the Band Internacional and BandNews Internacional channels in the U.S. In an exclusive interview, João Carlos Saad, the group’s president, talks about the competitive Brazilian market, expansion plans and new projects for 2009.
Plans for Expansion
Bandeirantes’ João Carlos Saad By Elizabeth Bowen-Tombari
TV NOVELAS: The Brazilian television market is among the
most competitive in the region.What is the key to attracting advertisers to the company’s diverse media outlets? SAAD: The key is offering advertisers the product they’re looking for. The ones that invest in free TV are interested in certain kinds of content, such as sports, events, novelas and entertainment.To those who invest in mobile, we focus on fast information and event ads. And for those looking to support subscription channels, we offer niche channels and new formats for ad investments, not only [the traditional] 30-second spots.
gic and entrepreneurial quality to it and we’ll be present in Europe and Africa this year. TV NOVELAS: In a previous interview, you mentioned that there were plans for producing content in Spanish. How are these plans coming along? SAAD: We’re negotiating distribution for Latin America and the U.S.This is one of the projects we’re working on this year and one we’ve begun to build strategic alliances on. TV NOVELAS: The group’s TV content focuses on Brazilian
culture, traditions and customs. Do you feel these differentiate you from the competition? SAAD: Of course, this is one of the fundamental differences of our channels, and by Brazilian culture we don’t only mean the Carnaval—we also have rodeos and festivals like Parintins, among others. TV NOVELAS: How important is new media in the com-
pany’s plans for expansion? SAAD: We already provide mobile content for phones and
São Paulo’s public transportation. We have a news agency, BandNews, for Internet, IPTV, etc. We’re prepared to provide the appropriate content to different platforms. TV NOVELAS: What is Bandeirantes doing in the area of
corporate responsibility? SAAD: We have a number of projects under Band Vida,
which supports community work such as Casas André Luiz, for kids with Down syndrome; AACD, for kids with disabilities; and GRAACC, for kids with cancer, among many others. TV NOVELAS: What principles have you learned from your father, João Jorge Saad, and applied to the group’s dayto-day activities? SAAD: Respect the public and our collaborators, tireless defense of free press, commitment to truth and free enterprise.
TV NOVELAS: What are Grupo
Bandeirantes de Comunicação’s greatest growth areas? What is the company’s share in Brazil’s pay-TV market? SAAD: Our greatest growth areas are radio, free-to-air TV and subscription-based television, and we have a 15-percent share in the pay-TV market in Brazil. TV NOVELAS: How important is
expanding the reach of your international channels? SAAD: We are planning two new channels.The expansion has a strate38
A union of souls: The Restaurateurs is one of many telenovelas being offered to the global market by Bandeirantes’ distribution arm, Band Imagem. World Screen
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A New Look at Novelas
Dori Media Group has coined a phrase for the kind of titles it is offering on the international market: “new-velas.” The term reflects the company’s ambition to refresh and renew the telenovela genre, both in terms of the story lines and settings being used and in how those shows are distributed. With Amanda O, the company delivered what is being billed as the first multiplatform novela, which can be deployed online, on mobile phones and on TV. Dori also created a portal, Novebox.com, featuring content for novela fans, and has launched channels on YouTube. President and CEO Nadav Palti speaks to TV Novelas about the company’s plans.
and Moldova. HBO CE will produce local versions of the series for transmission on its channels throughout the region. We are working tirelessly on maintaining our penetration in these markets and are also developing in this area other platforms, such as the Internet and mobile. If we look at Europe in general, besides Spain, which has always been a strong telenovela market, Germany has led the pack as it managed successful productions adapted from formats. France, Belgium and Italy followed shortly afterward. Even the Scandinavian countries are now actively seeking and programming one of the best Latin exports. Only recently, Dori Media Distribution concluded a deal and sold Lalola to the Scandinavian markets: Sweden, Finland, Norway and Denmark. There is still work to be done: the U.K., for example, is still one of those markets that will eventually come around. We are already witnessing a relatively new trend with the U.S. buying foreign content (besides British content), and we believe that the U.K. will also soon follow. Dori Media Group sold Lalola to Sony Pictures and Rebelde Way to a major network, and we are in advanced negotiations in the U.S. regarding two of our new titles.
TV NOVELAS: How has your business been in Europe? PALTI: In 2008, 27 percent of Dori Media Group’s global
TV NOVELAS: What are the strengths of your catalogue? PALTI: Dori Media Group carries a varied catalogue that
sales income was generated in Europe.We found that there is a high correlation between the success of certain products worldwide and in Europe specifically. Meaning, when a product has a story line that breaks boundaries, a talented cast and fast-paced editing, it will succeed all over the globe and in Europe. Our continued presence, customer support, client relations, visits to the territories, presence in all the major trade shows, etc., are all factors that have strongly benefited Dori Media Group as a leading telenovela presence in Europe.The most recent success is Amanda O, which was sold to 22 countries worldwide in six months since its debut—half of them are located in Europe. Another good example is Lalola, which was sold to 65 countries since its debut, in mid-2007, and a large part of these countries are from Europe. Russia, Poland, Greece, Bulgaria, Romania, Czech Republic, Hungary, Macedonia, Cyprus, Serbia and Montenegro, Austria and Turkey have all acquired Lalola, either the original product and/or the format. The success of Lalola was also in terms of ratings—it became a hit in every launch country. For instance, in Turkey it debuted on Kanal 1 and tripled the share in that time slot. It gained a 15-percent share of audience compared to a 5percent share gained by a local sitcom that was broadcast previously in that time slot.
can satisfy the clients’ different requests in terms of audience (children, teen, young adult, family, general entertainment) and in terms of style (epic, romantic, classic, comedy, drama, etc.). For this reason, we are offering our clients a complete collection of titles, which could be suitable, and in accordance to their needs and profile. We have it all: Champs 12, Split and Big Deal for younger audiences; Danny Hollywood is a musical daily drama; Cupido: El negocio del amor, Maybe This Time and Amanda O are for a general audience, etc. Among the titles already sold to countries in [Central and Eastern Europe] we can name Sos mi vida, Lalola and Amanda O. These productions combine several parameters that suit local audiences’ viewing habits: a story line which breaks boundaries, an international-looking cast and innovative editing and shooting techniques. In Amanda O, for example, the lead actress is Natalia Oreiro, who is admired all over the world. We believe that at DISCOP we will witness high interest from buyers for the telenovela and daily-drama genre. Since we are producing for one single territory—the world—our productions tend to appeal to a wider target of potential buyers.
Dori Media’s Nadav Palti
By Mansha Daswani
TV NOVELAS: What are your biggest markets in Central
and Eastern Europe, and where do you see new opportunities for growth? PALTI: In terms of TV rights, we can name Russia and CIS, Romania, Poland and Hungary as big markets. HBO Central Europe has recently acquired from Dori Media Distribution the rights to produce the Israeli format In Treatment for Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Romania 40
TV NOVELAS: Have you seen the demand for novelas change over the last year? PALTI: In general, the demand for telenovelas is on the rise. The telenovela is a universal and undying genre, which can be transformed or adapted to different viewers since the genre goes beyond different cultures, languages and social strata. We at Dori Media Group produce new-velas, which suit the region, as they contain all the basic elements of the traditional telenovelas, but with an edge—their story line is more up-to-date and unique; their pace is faster; and the way they are shot and edited is innovative. 6/09