Televisa unveils DVD

Comicbook-inspired 'Panther' did best

MEXICO CITY — Mexican media conglom Televisa is domestically releasing its first U.S. style series on DVD.

Four 13-episode series just finished their first run in Mexico to lukewarm ratings compared to local appetite for telenovelas.

Comicbook inspired “The Panther” did the best. Other titles are horror-themed “13 Fears,” a “Sex and the City”-like dramedy “Sex and Other Secrets” and a sitcom staring Mexican comedian Adal Ramones, “And Now … What Do I Do.”

U.S.-style series marked a major turn for Televisa, which produces mostly telenovelas and variety shows.

Monday’s release marks the first time the broadcaster has gone with indie distrib Quality Films, which already handles DVDs for web’s film arm, Videocine.

World distribution begins mid-2008. U.S. video house Xenon Pictures will handle the release Stateside, after the shows’ run on Televisa’s programming partner Univision.

Web has been ramping up DVD and merchandise biz under promotion and publicity VP Manuel Gilardi.

“International sales are exploding right now, especially in the U.S., above the industry average,” Gilardi said.

Since ramping up DVD ops two years ago, Televisa is putting out about 30 wholly owned titles a year, with a total catalog of around 150.

Merchandising, also under Gilardi’s direction, has been increasing as well.

Recently, Wal-Mart launched in Mexico 180 products branded with hit teen telenovela “Rebelde” and spin-off music group RBD.

Stateside, Televisa is going into its second year of offering DVD packages of telenovelas at Coca-Cola points of sale.

Gilardi said Televisa recently signed with Madrid-based firm Elastic Rights, which will roll out a merchandising campaign for toon “El Chavo del 8” in Eastern Europe.

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