Boffo 35.5 household rating average

SANTIAGO — Chile’s premier music fest Vina del Mar, which just wrapped its 39th edition, scored a socko 35.5 household rating average over its six nights on network Megavision — a 27% increase over 1997′s figure.

Checking out the advance lineup for Vina del Mar — a perennial February ratings champ — most newspapers had felt it would be repetitive and reduced their coverage. Chile’s top two broadcasters also felt the fest would be vulnerable, and decided to counterprogram.

For Vina’s opening night, TVN (Canal 7) skedded U2′s sole Chile concert, and for the second night TVUC (Canal 13) countered with a repeat of a 1997 recital by young Latino megastar Luis Miguel.

But Megavision’s opening Vina-cast scored a 40.9 rating — reaching a record 60 during a comedy act by locals Melon & Melame — while U2′s live show scored a drab 10.1. Next day, per Time Ibope ratings, Luis Miguel’s 8.9 was crushed by the fest’s 37.3.

The festival also attracted considerable international coverage, not only by Televisa (which owns 49% of Megavision), but also by Mexican rival TV Azteca, cabler E!, and others. A one-program compact of the fest, prepared by Megavision, is to be exported to 56 stations on all five continents.

The open-air theater in Vina del Mar, a coastal resort, seats 12,000, but the fest is basically a TV event. Top 1998 attractions were the Backstreet Boys, Mexican crooner Juan Gabriel and Italian pop idol Eros Ramazotti.

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