Talent team to telenovela

'Triunfo' winners to join soap opera skedded for first half of year

BUENOS AIRES — Broadcaster Telefe, a subsidiary of Telefonica’s Admira of Spain, is preparing to cast the winners of “Operacion triunfo” (Operation Triumph), a talent contest for singers that aired to high ratings last year, in a youth telenovela, a spokesman told Daily Variety.

While details still aren’t available, the soap opera is set to start airing in the first half of the year.

Move is the latest by a broadcaster to add more youth programming to boost ad coin, according to media buyers. Despite the country’s economic crisis of 2002-03, big marketers like Coca-Cola, Groupe Danone and Nestle continued to buy regular time on shows that reach young viewers.

Merchandising moves

Broadcasters also are developing more youth programs to boost revenue from merchandising and spinoffs. Bandana, a pop group that emerged from the talent search “Popstars” on third-ranked Canal 9 in 2001, starred in Tomas Yankelvich’s “Vivir intentando” (Live Trying), the highest-grossing domestic film of 2003. The young stars of youth telenovela “Rebelde way” (Rebel’s Way) on fourth-ranked America TV are set to follow suit in 2004. Their band Erreway and other young TV stars have put out chart-topping albums and now grace everything from trading cards to school notebooks.

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