Web plans complex novella

Net plans to produce three skeins simultaneously

RIO DE JANEIRO — Brazil’s third-ranked net TV Record is creating a 30 million reals ($11.7 million) production center here to increase the production of telenovelas, as it bids to boost ratings and revenues.

Record has bought a complex with four studios and will build an extra five studios and an urban film set.

The company has signed seven actors and four scribes to form a permanent telenovela production team.

The model is similar to the successful one of market leader TV Globo, which can make four telenovelas simultaneously in its western Rio complex, the largest in South America.

Record, which currently makes just one telenovela, will make two in the second half of this year. It plans to be able to produce three telenovelas simultaneously.

“Viewers are willing to accept a new producer, as long as the productions have high quality and good script and cast,” says communications manager Ricardo Frota. “Our goal is to become the second-ranked network by the end of this year.”

Record’s plans to pass SBT are not new. Early last year, execs said they planned to be the second-rated net by late 2004. That failed, in part due to the poor performance of “Metamorphoses,” a telenovela produced by indie company Casablanca.

But in October Record launched writer Tiago Santiago’s “Escrava Isaura” (Slave Isaura), a telenovela made by the net in its studios in Sao Paulo.

“Isaura” reached 15 points in the 7:15 p.m. primetime slot in March-April, up from the net’s 7.6 point average.

“Isaura’s” strong performance persuaded the net that homemade telenovelas are the way to go.

According to Frota, the net expects to have total revenues of $280 million this year, up 40% from 2004.

“Essas mulheres” (These Women), the telenovela that replaced “Isaura” in the beginning of May, will be the last Record telenovela produced in Sao Paulo.

In October, the net will bow a telenovela written by former TV Globo scribe Lauro Cesar Muniz, which will be made in Rio.

The new production complex will allow Record to increase the number of telenovela productions and it will make it easier to attract actors and writers, who live in Rio to be close to Globo.

Record has the financial backing of the wealthy Universal Church of God’s Kingdom, a fundamentalist Protestant institution, which controls the net through its leader, Bishop Edir Macedo and other church toppers.

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