Reversing a trend, sellars should be busy

Territory report: Argentina

BUENOS AIRES — A big importer in the 1990s, Argentina is fast expanding as an exporter.

Telefe Intl. has sold telenovela formats such as “Los Roldan” (The Roldans) for remaking in Asia, Europe and Latin America. Fox is remaking its corruption-laden “Resistire” (Forever Julia) as “Watch Over Me” and is said to be considering private-school drama “Rebelde Way” (The Rebels), produced by Cris Morena Group and RGB Entertainment. A Mexican version spawned the hit band RBD that recently cut an English-lingo album to be aimed at non-Latinos in the U.S.

Tel Aviv-based Dori Media Group (DMG) this year opened a distribution unit in Buenos Aires to sell its series and those of the big indies Ideas del Sur and Pol-ka.

Indeed, more distribs and producers are heading to Mipcom, and with bigger delegations.

Why the buzz?

“Argentina has a lot of talent. It has good production and value,” says DMG founder and vice chairman Yair Dori.

Mariano Kon, general manager of indie producer Cuatro Cabezas’ international division, says European and U.S. networks “are opening up to new ideas and producers from non-traditional markets” like Argentina.

Argentina’s producers began a big exporting effort after a 2002 currency crash — it depreciated by 70% — gave them a pricing advantage. This and bigger purchases from local networks, which could no longer afford many imports, gave rise to a crop of indie producers that now are seeking growth outside the crowded and low-paying domestic market.

Cuatro Cabezas is targeting France, the U.K. and U.S., bigger markets where it thinks its young, urban adult-focused content, such as satirical news roundup “Caiga Quien Caiga” (CQC) and investigative reporters series “La Liga” (The Team), will work well. It has its first three productions lined up for the U.S. English-lingo market next year.

Cris Morena Group, too, is looking at Western Europe to sell series such as teen justice-fighters adventure “Pirate Soul.” To snare format sales, it’s plugging the spinoff potential of local adaptations, claiming this can boost revenue from CDs, merchandising and live events, says Morena.

Imports are recovering. Artear-Canal 13 and Telefe, which dominate around 80% of broadcast ad revenue, are fielding more Hollywood movies, Latin American telenovelas and older seasons of U.S. series such as “House,” “ER,” and “The O.C.” The latter are heavily used as fillers in non-key slots.

TOP 3 SHOWS
1. “Montecristo,” Telefe
2. “Sos mi vida,” Artear-Canal 13
3. “ShowMatch,” Telefe

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