Inaugural screenings draw 60 buyers from smallscreen and digital platforms

MEXICO CITY

BBC Worldwide Americas’ first upfront in Mexico City attracted more than 60 buyers from cablers, nets and online digital platforms, building on the existing Rio screenings to reach deeper into growing Latin American auds.

The event was over-subscribed, Matt Forde, VP for sales and co-productions for BBCW Americas, said on Friday. “I think that’s an indication of the appetite in Mexico to start to look at programming they haven’t looked at before.”

While Forde stressed that most deals coming out of the upfront on Wednesday and Thursday will be announced in the coming week or so, the Beeb unveiled a deal with DirecTV for the sixth season of “Doctor Who” that brings the hit sci-fi skein to more than 4 million subscribers of OnDirectTV and OnDirectTV HD throughout Latin America.

“We’re fairly optimistic that we will do business with free-to-air stations, the cable stations, and of course, some of the emerging digital services,” Forde said.

Building upon its existing business with Netflix, Forde said BBCW execs are in talks with Vudu, which is rolling out in Mexico, and discussing a nascent digital platform being developed by Cinepolis — Mexico’s top exhib and the no. 4 exhibitor worldwide.

“There is a clear role for television in emerging digital services,” Forde said. “And shows like ‘Misfits’ … targeted at a younger audience plays naturally to digital audiences.”

Forde highlighted a number of titles gaining attention in the region including 1870s department store drama “The Paradise,” “Call the Midwife” — a No. 1 hit in the U.K. — and contemporary reboot “Sherlock,” one of the Beeb’s top international titles.

The exec also pointed to Jonathan Dimbleby-hosted “A South American Journey,” which has potential regional appeal.

Forde stressed quality as paramount in selling titles abroad, “It’s not about trying to adapt, it’s about making the very, very best content, and competing with the very best Mexican content, and the best U.S. content, and I think we can do that.”

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