Shingle inks first-look pact

CANNES — Mexican producer El Mall has inked a first-look deal with Zodiak Latino, the South American arm of Zodiak Media Group, to produce Zodiak formats for select Mexican broadcasters, including Televisa.

El Mall, headed by Pedro Torres, is one of Mexico’s leading media and production companies. Best known for TV skeins “Mujeres asesinas,” “El equipo” and “El encanto del Aguila,” its catalog includes popular reality, entertainment and game shows.

Zodiak Latino, which is behind hit reality show “La expedition,” and El Mall have already agreed on a slate of formats to pitch to the main Mexican broadcasters.

“Latin America is a key market because it has a population totalling a few hundred million who (mostly) speak the same language. Also it’s got strong ties with the U.S. Hispanic population — which is the biggest, fastest growing minority in the U.S. And consumption-wise, they’re going up the social ladder,” Zodiak Latino COO Nicola Drago told Variety.

“El Mall has terrific local production skills and outstanding relationships with broadcasters, particularly Televisa. As Mexico is quite a challenging country to get into we figured El Mall was the best sponsor we could get to address the Mexican market,” said Drago.

El Mall is particularly interested in talent shows, including “Sing If You Can,” Drago said.

“It’s a global format for Zodiak that’s gaining a lot of momentum in Latin America. We produced an adaptation in Peru and Brazil, and we’re talking to Argentinians and Uruguayans to do it there as well,” Drago said.

“The main challenge for producers is that there are still lots of territories in Latin America where most of the channels have their own production infrastructures, so they want to use it. But little by little these broadcasters are recognizing that we bring value because we know the formats better,” Drago said.

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