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Argentine Dori opens doors in U.S.

Escalante to run Miami-based unit

Telenovela distrib and producer Dori Media Group has established a beachhead in Miami. DMG’s stock has more than doubled in the last year, and it has been expanding accordingly, with a new subsidiary named Dori Media America to be based in Florida, where the company has stated its intention to begin distributing its library to American networks.

The company, which produces 800 hours a year in Argentina and Israel, has tapped Jose Escalante to run Dori Media America. He was previously the VP and general manager for RCTV International, formerly Coral Pictures, the Miami arm of the Venezuelan RCTV. RCTV made headlines in May for its critical stance on the regime of Hugo Chavez and subsequent government-mandated shutdown.

DMG also appointed Escalante, a former veep and general manager of international sales at Venezuelan broadcaster RCTV, as prexy and general manager of its global distribution unit Dori Media Distribution.

The opening comes as the company sees a surge in sales to Mexico, France, Germany, Portugal, Russia and the U.S., led by titles out of Argentina including private school-set “Rebelde Way” (The Rebels) and “Floricienta” (Flinderella).

“The power of telenovelas and the loyalty they generate are very strong in the US both in the Hispanic and non-Hispanic markets, in many cases generating higher prime-time ratings than other programs on US TV channels,” enthused Dori Media Group CEO Nadav Palti. The format, similar to American soap opera, thrives overseas but has yet to gain penetration in the United States to the same extent that it has in Central America and South America.

The 10-staff operation will sell formats and ready-to-roll programming to English- and Spanish-language nets and arrange deals for spinoff business like merchandising, music and videos.

DMG both produces telenovelas in Spanish and in Hebrew and sells those produced by third parties, as well. In Israel, it owns and operates “Viva” and “Viva Platina,” networks dedicated to the format. The company sells both TV content and branded merchandise. Though Americanized telenovelas have failed to catch on, notably MyNetworkTV’s ill-fated Morgan Fairchild/Bo Derek starrer “Fashion House,” DMG has had some success adapting the format to other cultures, particularly in Israel.

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