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Netflix nabs Mexican telenovelas

Content boosts plan for Latin America launch

Mexico’s top broadcasters Televisa and Azteca have become the first Latin American content partners to pact with Netflix, which aims to launch its subscription service in the region by the end of the year.

Televisa, the country’s top web and owner of the largest collection of Spanish-language content in the world, will kick in 3,000 hours of hit telenovelas and other series to the distributor’s library annually.

The non-exclusive content sharing pact announced Tuesday comes hours after no. 2 conglom Azteca announced its own link up with Netflix. Neither company disclosed financial details of the deals.

Televisa said the content it shares with Netflix will become available a year after airing. It will not be available in the U.S.

“The agreement with Netflix is an important first step in Televisa’s plan to monetize its library of over 50,000 hours of content via digital distribution,” read the web’s statement..

Azteca, which is shedding the “TV” from its name as it expands into multiplatform content delivery services, will make 1,000-1,500 hours of content available to Netflix.

Netflix announced its intention to expand into 43 Latin American countries this month but has offered few concrete details on the rollout.

Now with more than 25 million subscribers, Netflix grew to dominance in the U.S. based on its DVD-by-mail service. However, most speculate that its service in Latin America will be streaming-only, just as in Canada, where it bowed last year and acquired nearly 1 million subs in its first 10 months. Beyond Latin America, Netflix is in talks with distributors in the U.K. and Spain for a potential European launch next year at the earliest (Daily Variety, July 5).

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