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Mexico: Telenovelas sale to put coin in nets’ pockets

Mipcom 2005: Territory report

MEXICO CITY — For Mexican broadcasters, Mipcom will be all about sales, with a keen eye toward new trends, rather than filling slots.

Mexico’s dominant net Televisa and smaller rival TV Azteca are swimming in homegrown content.

Televisa continues to trounce TV Azteca in the ratings war, consistently drawing 20%-30% shares with its top telenovelas, compared with around 10% for TV Azteca’s.

Both nets will showcase new wares at the first Telenovela Screenings, organized by Reed Midem for Oct. 16.

In 2004, Televisa sold around $69 million in programming exports outside of Mexico and the United States; TV Azteca sold nearly $12 million in the same markets.

Televisa will be pushing six telenovelas, including its current hit from “La Madrastra” producer Salvador Mejia, “La esposa virgin” (The Virgin Wife); a new period piece from “Amor real” producer Carla Estrada titled “Alborada” (The Dawning); longtime producer Ernesto Alonso’s latest, “Barrera de amor” (Barrier of Love); and hit teen novela “Rebelde.”

TV Azteca will be showing only one, yet-untitled telenovela. Net doesn’t have international rights for its other higher-profile current productions, which are based on scripts from Argentina.

“We are going to be focused on formats,” says TV Azteca international sales VP Marcel Vinay. “In the mature markets like Poland or Russia, the amount of local productions have picked up.”

Azteca will be selling the formats for its ghoulish gamer “Los asesinos” (The Assassins) and hidden-camera show “Que buena honda!” (roughly What a Good Vibe!), where unsuspecting contestants are given the chance to do a good deed. Net also is repackaging a dramatic series that explores all types of intimate relationships with the new title “El Poder del amor” (The Power of Love).

Televisa programming VP Alberto Ciurana admits to shopping for nothing more than the odd film or the hot trend at Mipcom “We have too much programming,” he says. “When we substitute, it’s to put on something innovative that drives more people to turn on the set.”

Besides its hit telenovelas, Televisa has output deals with Warner, Universal and DreamWorks, and airs top U.S. skeins “CSI” and “Nip/Tuck.”

TV Azteca acquisitions VP Pedro Lascurain says his net is on the lookout for competition-based shows, like its local version of “The Weakest Link.”

Net also is rejigging its daytime broadcasts on Channel 7, removing kids toons and looking to fill slots with interior-design and cooking shows. “These type of shows are only on cable (in Mexico) and we want to attract a new market of women viewers,” Lascurain says.

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