Telenovelas Face Mature Market And New Challenges

For 25 years, telenovelas have provided a steady diet for viewers worldwide. From their home base in Latin America, they moved first to Italy in 1980, expanded to the rest of Europe, later moving to Asia and, recently, to Central and Eastern Europe. Today, telenovela producers - the telenoveleros, as the top producers are called - are facing a mature market and competition from a myriad of new TV territories that, up until recently, represented their growth areas.

However, telenoveleros are facing this challenge with more munitions than 25 years ago: Increased marketing and promotion ability, trade show presence and prestige on the international scene.

Noveleros operate without government assistance, often working in hostile political, social or economic environments; with production supported by relatively small markets. All this, however, has helped, rather then hindered, their ability to position their product worldwide. Now VideoAge is unveiling Telenovelas' new phase.

Globo TV’s Ratings-Oriented Fare
with Globo TV's Helena Bernardi.

What is the next emerging territory for telenovelas?

“The telenovela market has been experiencing growth for a good while now. We had never seen such a big number of telenovelas being produced in different places around the globe like, for example, Russia, Germany and in Asia. The format is definitely consolidated in Eastern Europe and in Latin America, and is on the rise in Western Europe. In Spain, for example, there are four telenovelas being aired nationally. Our telenovelas address universal topics through a wide variety of issues; thrilling and enthralling increasingly sophisticated viewers and a heterogeneous audience. Therefore, they have a great potential to captivate the heterogeneous Asian audience.”

Which are mature territories for your telenovelas?

"Our largest market is Portugal and our participation is consolidated in Latin America and Eastern Europe. Per country, our most important markets are Portugal, Russia, Romania, Hispanic U.S., Chile, Peru, Uruguay and Argentina. In Russia, Globo TV has been strengthening its participation for more than 10 years. Terra Nostra and The Clone are examples of successful telenovelas in this market.

"Just to illustrate how successful we are in Latin America, Globo TV production Shades of Sin reached an average share of 40 percent on Telefe in Argentina. This telenovela has among the best ratings in Peru, Venezuela, Ecuador and Dominican Republic."

What is Telenovela's main competition?

"Reality shows and magazine shows produced locally are important competitors, as they are low budget productions; but they also stimulate the habit of watching television and attract potential new viewers to the telenovelas. Besides, Globo's telenovelas are extremely ratings-oriented and are being perceived as an important tool on the programming grid. In general, they occupy a strategic position in the afternoon, access and primetime grids."

How many telenovelas do you produce each year?

"Approximately 10, among them telenovelas and miniseries."

How many of your telenovelas are sold internationally?

"This number varies according to our commercial strategies. In general, almost all the telenovelas produced by Globo TV are offered in the international market. For instance, every telenovela produced by Globo is aired in Portugal. However, there's not a general rule to export the product. Each telenovelas is worked according to the market we want to target. In 30 years, we sold more than 300 titles to 130 countries."

What new product will you be presenting for 2006?

"We're still defining the titles that will be launched into the international market in 2006, but we can say that we'll provide a great mix of telenovelas: historical and contemporary stories, romantic comedies and full-blown dramas, and several other stories, always aiming at meeting the needs of each channel and/or region."

New Approaches Enhance Novelas
with Venevision's Luis Villanueva

Are the sales prices of telenovelas changing?

"They change according to the realities of new territories, and their local economies. As with any programming options, prices are closely associated with the advertising investment in a particular client's station, which in turn influences that client's buying power. All this is subject to competitive pressures as well."

Is Telenovela content changing (e.g. becoming more explicit)?

"Not really. The genre has a core audience that is well defined. In terms of content, it is subject to innovative approaches to the classical love story."

In terms of programming hours, telenovelas already represent the second-largest content output on the international TV market. How will you prepare for further increases?

"We have expanded our production capacity as a group. At the same time, we have developed production models that allow us to access technical and artistic resources in many countries."

How many telenovelas do you produce each year?

"We produce around 10 telenovelas [annually]. We sell around 1900 hours per year."

How many of your telenovelas are sold internationally?

"The same 10, plus our catalog."

What new product will you be presenting for 2006?

Nunca Te Dire Adios (I'll Never Say Goodbye)

Soñar No Cuesta Nada (Daydreaming)

El Amor Las Vuelve Locas (Love Drives Them Crazy)

Se Solicita Principe Azul (Looking for the Knight in Shining Armor)

RCN to Reach Beyond Its Station
with RCN's Maria Hernandez

Are the sales prices of telenovelas changing?

"The sales price of telenovelas, the same as most products, vary according to supply and demand for the product. Additionally, they directly relate to the income and spending of each country for advertising in the broadcaster slot. Since these deals are done in euro and U.S. dollars, some territories are effected by the changes in exchange rate. Other than that, the final price a distributor closes with a client can also depend on the volume of the deal, and the popularity of a certain product."

What is Telenovela's main competition?

"The main competition in the genre of Telenovela will depend on the country. For most Latin countries, the competition will most regularly be from another telenovela; for territories that are not regular broadcasters, where we are trying to replace a certain genre [with] ours, the competition varies. We try to create awareness of the success reached when programming a telenovela - the programmer can reach a large audience with high ratings success for a longer programming time."

In terms of programming hours, telenovelas already represent the second-largest content output on the international TV market. How will you prepare for possible increases?

"We here at RCN are constantly trying to increase our program volume. Our latest goal is to produce programs that will not exclusively initiate broadcast here on our station, converting ourselves into a kind of producer of quality content too."

How many telenovelas do you produce each year?

"We produce an average of five telenovelas per year."

How many of your telenovelas are sold internationally?

"All of them."

What new product will you be presenting for 2006?

We will be presenting two new productions:

Merlina, Mujer Divina

Juegos Prohibidos

 

Novelas Compete with Formats
with RCTV's Jose Escalante

Which territories are beginning to mature?

"It is just a question of continued penetration in countries, such as many Asian countries, that were not traditional buyers of telenovelas, but are now producing their own versions of the genre. We may say that Asia and West and Eastern Europe are beginning to mature."

What is Telenovela's main competition?

"The main competitors for telenovelas are telenovelas themselves. Nowadays we can say that more and more countries are buying formats to adapt the telenovelas to their own markets, so telenovelas are beginning to compete against their own local versions."

How many telenovelas do you produce each year?

"We produce between 600 and 800 hours a year."

How many of your telenovelas are sold internationally?

"Almost all of our inventory."

What new product will you be presenting for 2006?

Lovers (Amantes)

Finding Mr. Perfect (Amor a Palos)

Love on Wheels (Gatas y Tuercas)

A Storm of Passion (Tormenta de Pasiones)

 

Novela Number to Increase
With Caracol's Camilo Cano

What is the next emerging territory for telenovelas?

"Russia."

In terms of programming hours, telenovelas already represent the second-largest content output on the international TV market. How will you prepare for further increases?

"We are increasing our production rate and improving our infrastructure to meet the challenges that are coming in the near future."

How many telenovelas do you produce each year?

"Four."

How many of your telenovelas are sold internationally?

"Four."

What new product will you be presenting for 2006?

Por Amor a Gloria

El Baile de La Vida

 

Argentina Rules For Kids
with Telefe's Silvana D'Angelo

What is the next emerging territory for telenovelas?

"I'd say that the teen-oriented telenovela has become a real boom all over the world in the last two years. Certainly not all of those that are being produced worldwide achieve the same success, but only those which can actually capture the view and spirit of youngsters. Argentina is definitively the most important producer of content for kids and teenagers around the world.

"Viewers evolve around the world, especially young audiences, [which] demand a higher degree of quality and more interesting stories. Teen telenovelas with a high dose of humor are booming not only in Eastern, but also in Western, Europe. This is also a trend to be pointed out: Many Argentinean teen series are being broadcast by thematic children's channels.

"Today, countries like France and Germany are interested in telenovelas. These countries didn't consume this genre [in the past], but now they've realized that a series of 120 daily episodes can be highly profitable. What's more, many of them can generate a lot of related businesses like merchandising, music, shows, SMS, etc. Yes, the Telenovela has definitely evolved and adapted to the taste of viewers who are becoming more and more demanding each day, but the change has always been positive. Nowadays, you can see series that have been made with an outstanding production level."

Which of your Telenovela territories are already mature?

"Latin America is still very important because all Latin American countries consume this genre; this trend has never decreased. Although, since it's also true that most of the main production companies in this genre are based in Latin America, competition can be very strong. Nevertheless, this region is producing some 60 telenovelas per year. In Argentina, for instance, 13 series are being aired at present.

"The European market is still very important, although many channels have reduced their foreign-production slots due to regulations. In these cases, there's nothing we can do, since the regulations imposed on the channels limit the broadcast of foreign content. In order to solve this problem, we're moving to co-productions and to the sale of telenovelas formats."

Is Telenovela content changing (e.g. becoming more explicit)?

"The genre of the Telenovela is expanding to new countries every year and is changing for the better…it's getting more sophisticated. There are more competitors and viewers demand higher degree of quality. Production budgets are being steadily increased in order to meet the quality standards required. The plots tend to be more original with additional touches of humor, suspense, action or eroticism, along with the basic love story."

How many novelas do you produce each year?

"We are bringing worldwide 10 telenovelas per year, but Telefe's catalog not only includes products by Telefe Contenidos but also products from the most important Argentinian production companies. We've achieved a target- unthinkable a few years ago - of gathering producers under the same distribution entity. Today, we're working hand in hand with the Argentinean production companies to generate content that meets the needs and demands of every world TV outlet. Producers know that nowadays the audiences that consume telenovelas have become more demanding and are quickly adapt to the latest trends."

How many of your telenovelas are sold internationally?

"We've closed a good number of sales, both in finished product and in formats. Often, in the same country, we've had a strong demand for a format on one channel and for the finished product on another. We've had both options in countries like Mexico, Spain, Colombia, Venezuela and Chile, just to mention some important markets. The channels are becoming more specific and have begun to demand a certain level of local content in every foreign production - something that not all distributors can provide. However, the Argentinean producers have managed to do it, and that's what makes the difference and accounts for our strong international positioning.

What new product will you be presenting for 2006?

Save me, Maria

El Refugio de Los Sueños

Sex Stories of Ordinary People

A Double Life

Amoren Custodian (Love's Guard)

 

Higher Budgets Demand Higher Prices
with Tepuy's Melissa Pillow

What is the next emerging territory for telenovelas?

"Some examples are Albania and Armenia, territories that we began to work with only this year. It's important to note the emerging interest in Western European countries such as Germany and France. In the majority of cases, companies in these countries are interested in co-production deals to create local telenovelas using Latin American scripts and know-how."

Which of your Telenovela territories are already mature?

"Bulgaria and Romania. For several years, these countries have been filled with Telenovela slots and the genre continues to be popular today."

Are the sales prices of telenovelas changing?

"Our telenovelas, from Telemundo, are created with higher budgets than ever, making it necessary to maintain a market price that reflects the quality of our productions. In many cases it has been necessary to raise prices to compensate for this higher level of quality."

What is Telenovela's main competition?

"If we are speaking of Telenovelas in general, then normally the competing slots are filled with local productions such as drama series, news and talk shows. If we are speaking of the main competition for Spanish-language telenovelas, then definitely this would be local soap operas/telenovelas created in the local language. The surging interest in creation of local telenovelas provides additional business opportunities, such as sale of scripts or co-productions."

How many novelas do you produce each year?

"10 per year."

How many of your telenovelas are sold internationally?

"In general we widely sell all our telenovelas internationally throughout North and South America, the Middle East, Europe, Africa and Asia."

What new product will you be presenting for 2006?

El Cuerpo del Deseo: Second Chance

La Tormenta: The Storm

La Mujer en el Espejo: The Woman in the Mirror

Amarte Asi Frijolito: Looking for Dad



Prices Stay Strong
With TV Azteca's Marcel Vinay, Jr.

What is the next emerging territory for telenovelas?

"Western Europe is starting to realize the huge potential telenovelas deliver."

Are the sales prices of telenovelas changing?

"It depends on the territory and its current economic situation. But generally, prices have remained the same or increased."

In terms of programming hours, telenovelas already represent the second-largest content output on the international TV market. How will you prepare for possible increases?

"We will continue to improve the quality of our productions and scripts."

How many telenovelas do you produce each year?

"Over 1,000 hours of novelas."

How many of your telenovelas are sold internationally?

"All 1,000 hours each year."

What new product will you be presenting for 2006?

Forbidden Passion

Machos

Not any more

Disaster: Reconstructing Life

The Sniper

 

Asia, India Offer New Markets
with Televisa's Carlos Castro

What is the next emerging territory for telenovelas?

"The Telenovela genre is getting stronger, and demand continues to grow in regions like Spain, Eastern Europe and Southeast Asia. In addition, booming local productions in Western Europe, Asia and India to name a few - fueled by lessening regulations and economic recovery - are stimulating demand for Telenovela formats and original scripts."

Is Telenovela content changing?

"The essence of Televisa's telenovelas remains the same, it does not matter the audience for which it is produced. Our core production values are very consistent and well defined, and are the main reasons for our international success. Our telenovelas, developed by internationally-recognized soap writer icons, are supervised by legendary producers who have proven their expertise in appealing to viewers around the globe. Our stories take place in stunning locations, and talented actors bring great scripts to life."

How many telenovelas do you produce each year?

"An average of 10 telenovelas per year."

How many of your telenovelas are sold internationally?

"We sell all our Telenovela productions in the international markets."

What new product will you have available for 2006?

Alborada (The Dawning)

Barrera de Amor (Barrier of Love)

Bailando por un Sueño (Dancing for a Dream)

 

Artear's Silvia Bottero:
For '06, Three New Titles

On average, Artear produces up to three telenovelas per year, according to the company's International Marketing executive, Silvia Bottero.

In any event, in 2006, Artear Argentina will distribute three new titles: La Noche del Diez (Diego Maradona's Night) is an interactive format hosted by soccer legend Diego Maradona. The format allows viewers to take part in the show through contests, games and raffles; it also features special guests from the sports world, the political arena and the music and film industries.

Drama series Mujeres Asesinas (Killer Women) tells true stories of women who, for reasons ranging from domestic violence to abuse to unbridled ambition, were driven to murder.

Sin Codigo 2 (Breaking Codes 2) tells the story of Gabriel Nielsen - the owner of a private security company - who works side by side with Axel Etcheverry, with whom he shares a history. A third character, Antonia Lopez, will be added later on, and the three of them will face dangerous missions, while romance and passion ensue.

Buenos Aires-based Artear is owned by Argentinean media giant Grupo Clarín. Artear owns and operates Channel 13 - one of the four free-to-air television channels in Buenos Aires, which also reaches the rest of Argentina with its network affiliates. Artear Argentina is also a major content producer and distributor both in Argentina and internationally.

The company is known for its innovative fictional programs, as well as leadership in sports.