Argentina expands studio space

Lecouna, Avila form Star Park Television

BUENOS AIRES Argentine TV heavyweights Raul Lecouna and Carlos Avila have banded to form Star Park Television, a company that will offer studio and production services as well as program sports and fiction feevee and produce telenovelas.

 The 50-50 venture between the partners is building a 46,284 sq. ft. space with two studios and offices in San Isidro on the outskirts of Buenos Aires, with the opening slated for June.

 “It will have the most modern, high-definition technology in Argentina,” says Lecouna, who started the project after selling his interest in Central Park Productions last year to Israel-based producer-distributor Dori Media Group in a $1.1 million deal.

 Demand is high for studio time in Argentina, as international companies turn to the country for its low costs and ample talent base to make commercials, films and TV shows like “Fear Factor.”

 “Studios are full right now and we expect demand to continue growing,” Lecouna says.

 He and Avila will promote the studios at the April 7-11 Mip-TV.

 Avila will use the studios for producing content for Golf Channel Latinoamerica, a venture of his with DirecTV Latin America. The aim is to add more local content, expanding on a schedule dominated by international golf programs.

 Over the past two years, Avila has sold his interests in Buenos Aires broadcaster America TV and other assets and stepped down as chairman and president of sports programmer Torneos y Competencias to focus on Golf Channel and now Star Park.

 The new venture also is preparing a local sports and fiction feevee and two telenovelas for 2009, building on Lecouna’s production experience of programming like runaway success “Muneca brava” (Wild Angel).

 One is “Amor infiel” (Unfaithful Love), a story featuring an ambassador and targeted at families.

 The other, which Lecouna describes as a mix between “Heidi” and “Harry Potter,” is targeted at 6- to 12-year olds. It is the story of a young girl and a group of friends who face a series of adventures as they search for the girl’s lost mother.

 “There is a lot of demand in the world for children’s programs,” Lecouna says. “Kids consume a lot so there are opportunities for merchandising, music and theater. It is an international phenomenon.”

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