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TV Record lays out $20 mil to move up

No. 3 Brazilian net sets plan to overtake rival

RIO DE JANEIRO — Third-ranked Brazilian net TV Record will spend $20 million next year in an effort to overtake rival SBT.

“The investment in telenovelas, films and news and new shows for our Sunday programming is part of Record’s strategy to increase its audience and revenue. Our goal is to be the second(-ranked) network by the end of 2004,” TV Record’s spokesman said.

The net has inked an agreement with indie producer Casa Blanca to co-produce a telenovela, which is due to bow in March. Casa Blanca produces “A turma do gueto” (Ghetto Partners), which bowed on TV Record on Monday nights this month.

TV Record is negotiating to buy film packages from U.S. majors, said the net’s spokesman, who refused to name names. Disney is thought to be one; it has an output deal with SBT that expires next year.

Leading local net TV Globo reportedly is also interested in an agreement with the Mouse House.

SBT has held the No. 2 spot for 20 years, but the broadcaster is in crisis. It has axed staff, and the ratings of one of its leading shows, “Domingo legal” (Cool Sunday), fell dramatically over a scandal surrounding a fake interview.

Bishop Edir Macedo, the leader of fundamentalist Protestant Universal Church of God’s Kingdom, is the controlling shareholder of TV Record, which airs religious programming but is a commercial network.

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