Rio de Janeiro – While Brazil consolidates as one of the world’s largest TV markets and a top exporter of telenovelas produced by local nets, it is still lagging behind when it comes to place its indie TV productions in the international market.
Participants of Rio Fest’s RioMarket 2014’s panel “International market trends and opportunities for Brazil” agreed the fact indie productions are in Brazil’s native language Portuguese is the major entry barrier in world markets. The language hampers Brazilian exports not only to the English-speaking and friendly markets but also to the other Spanish-language Latin American countries.
“If you dub it, you lose quality, and shows with subtitles are not appealing to massive audiences,” said Mauricio Fittipaldi, who is the general business director of Mexican giant Televisa’s office in Brazil and is in charge of making coproduction with local partners.
Alejandro Toro Canal, director of coproductions of Colombia’s Caracol TV, said his company is able to recover part of their productions’ costs with sales to other Spanish speaking markets: “Colombia is a US$500,000 ad spend, 40 million-people TV market and we need to export to recover our investments. As for Brazilian producers, they can tap from a US$16 billion, 200 million-people TV market.”
But local market consultant Alberto Flaksman said Brazil’s top TV nets, mainly TV Globo, dominate the Brazil TV market and indie producers of series and other types of shows must seek to sell abroad, so they can afford high-budget productions. Ironically, the sole case of continuous international sales here is the one of TV Globo’s telenovelas. In spite of the language barrier, TV Globo has managed to sell for more than three decades their telenovelas to dozens of countries.
“There we come to the second main barrier for Brazilian indie shows in the world market: the lack of volume,” Fittipaldi said. “Buyers seek output deals. They want to be sure they will have a second season, when the first one is over. Globo and Televisa will provide it, but not Brazilian indie producers. Brazilian indies will have to think of way of offering shows in packages, if they want to reach the global market.”