B'caster focusing on telenovelas, intn'l sales

NBC Universal’s U.S. Spanish-language broadcaster Telemundo is getting out of pay TV in Latin America after six years.

It will wind down Telemundo Intl. and put its efforts into producing telenovelas and international sales.

The primetime sudsers “have been extremely successful internationally in promoting our brand,” Telemundo said in a statement. “We have reached a point where it is no longer viable to sustain both businesses in the medium-to long-term effectively without the risk of cannibalizing one another.”

In 2000, Telemundo reportedly paid $2.35 million for the news production assets of Sony’s bankrupt 24-hour newsie CBS/Telenoticias. Telemundo saw the channel as a way to promote itself in the region.

The web continued to skew toward news, but last fall Telemundo announced plans to relaunch it as a general entertainment channel.

But plans to air its own novelas might have undercut sales to broadcasters around the region.

Telemundo’s sudser output sells around Latin America, with the notable exception of Mexico, where it does not yet have an outlet.

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