BUENOS AIRES — Cris Morena Group is revving up sales on formats for its teen telenovelas and family sitcoms.
Israel’s Dori Media Group, its distributor, recently sold the format of “Alma pirata” (Pirate Soul), “Chiquititas” and “Rebelde way” (The Rebels) to Portugal’s Sic, “Rebels” to Chile’s Canal 13, “Floricienta” to Russia’s A Media and “Amor mio” (Loony Love) to Romania’s Media Pro.
The ready-to-roll tapes of sitcom “Love,” Cinderella-like novela “Floricienta” and “Rebels” were among Dori Media’s biggest sellers at Mipcom in October, acquired for Chile, Greece, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia and Turkey.
Cris Morena, prexy of the producer and an actress, director and composer, began exporting shows 10 years ago with “Chiquititas,” now a staple on Disney Channel in Europe and Latin America.
She sells not only programs and formats but the know-how on developing spinoff businesses, from albums to branded merchandise, magazines, live theater and concerts.
Mexico’s Televisa is following that model with high school band telenovela “Rebels.”
Mexican spinoff band RBD has become a hit. Erreway, the band in the Argentine version, is going on its first European tour this month.
Argentina, Morena says, is a prime location for production because of low costs — the local exchange rate is 3.10 pesos per dollar — and a variety of talent, from technicians to directors, thesps, musicians and costume designers.
When possible, Morena produces foreign versions of her programs back home in Buenos Aires, as she did with “Amor mio” for Mexico, using a Mexican cast. Telemundo in the U.S. is now airing the Mexican version that aired on Televisa.
“We can control all the details of the production,” Morena says. “We can do a program in less time and less money, one episode a day.” It can take five to 10 days to shoot an episode in some international markets.
Exports are essential. Argentina’s ad market is $200 million a year, less than in Chile and Colombia, and can’t sustain big productions, so Morena has to recoup investment abroad.
“We have had a lot of discussions with buyers in China. They are looking for programs with less violence and more adventure,” she says.
The company is prepping a slate of programs for 2007 including adventure-romance “Casi angeles” (Almost Angels) and a musical sitcom based on “Beauty and the Beast.”