Mexico’s broadcaster building seven studios for telenovelas

Mexico’s No. 2 broadcaster TV Azteca broke ground Monday in Mexico City on a $55 million complex housing seven studios dedicated to sudsers.

The 61,000 square feet facility is next to TV Azteca’s existing five-studio home, bringing the broadcaster’s total space to 88,000 square feet at that site.

CEO Mario San Marin said the expansion should allow the web to up soap production by 40% when completed in roughly 18 months.

The web makes 1,300 telenovela episodes per year and is expanding its domestic programming from five to six hours of sudser programming per day.

The fully HD complex will give a permanent home to TV Azteca’s hit musical reality skein “La Academia” (The Academy).

It also will feature new audio and video production facilities as well as extensive hair, makeup and wardrobe departments. It will tap green initiatives like solar and wind power generation for much of its electricity needs.

Until now, Azteca has rented studio space for production overflow at Mexico City’s aging Churubuscu studios. San Marin is convinced this will help improve cost efficiency.

Azteca’s head of international sales Marcel Vinay said that he’s looking forward to bringing new product to foreign markets by late 2011, adding that sales are weathering the worldwide economic downturn well. “People prefer buying in the can (with the recession),” he said.

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