BUENOS AIRES — Argentina’s broadcasters are slotting more contests, gamers and reality fare as economic slowdown cuts ad revenue and makes it harder to break even with costlier comedies and dramas.
“This will be a year of crisis programming,” says Martin Rodriguez, a TV specialist at Television.com.ar.
After a five-year boom and with the economy heading toward recession — if not already there — networks are tightening acquisition budgets.
“We are being more cautious with our purchases,” says Walter Sequeira, an acquisitions manager at Artear net. “We need to be stricter when it comes to buying. We’re not going to buy anything that is more than the market can (support), even if we love it.”
Artear is looking for films, formats and specials such as magic shows that can work in marginal hours or be adapted for primetime. It’s pulling strong ratings with a version of Endemol’s “Wipe Out” and, along with others, is scheduling Latin telenovelas in addition to older seasons of “American Dad!,” “Californication” and “Lost” in the morning, afternoon and latenight.
Local fare will continue to dominate primetime. Telefe is prepping homespun versions of “Big Brother,” “Hole in the Wall” and “Fear Factor” plus a dating show and a male-escort sitcom. In addition, Artear has married-life and psychoanalysis sitcoms in the pipeline.
With the slowdown, producers will step up the search for foreign co-production deals to fund fiction, says Hugo Di Guglielmo, an international media consultant in Buenos Aires.
Ideas del Sur, Pol-ka and Cris Morena Group/RGB Entertainment have invested in programs with Mexico’s Televisa, while Underground Contenidos teamed with Endemol on hit comedy “Los Exitosos Pells” (The Successful Pells) for Telefe.
Some producers may find opportunities with the crisis, as production costs are lower “for the same quality” compared with Europe and the U.S., Di Guglielmo says.
Endemol Argentina is producing foreign versions of “Wipe Out,” and Promofilm has done “I’m a Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here!” for Hungary.
“Argentina’s production is very mature for these challenges,” with hits already aired outside the country, says Di Guglielmo.
This year, Jennifer Lopez signed on to produce for Fox a remake of Cris Morena and RGB’s teen telenovela “Rebelde Way” (The Rebels), the latest remake out of Argentina for the U.S.