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Emilio Alcalde, Krishna Mahon, A+E Networks Latin America, on Brazil’s Pay TV Market

'Brazilian producers are still learning how to make reality shows - and ensure they don’t look or feel fake'

Emilio Alcalde, Krishna Mahon, +E Networks

A+E Networks Latin America – a joint venture between AETN and Ole Communications – operates channels such as A&E, History, Lifetime, and H2 across Latin America, playing an important role in circulation of US and domestic programming throughout the region.

The company established a new office in Brazil in 2012 in order to increase production of original Brazilian content and currently has a 6% share of the Brazilian pay TV market.

In the opening session of the RioMarket TV Seminars on Wednesday, A+E Networks Latin America’s Original Content Director for Brazil, Krishna Mahon took part in the panel dedicated to “How to meet the programming profile and production costs of a TV channel”.

Variety interviewed  Krishna Mahon, together with Emilio Alcalde – A+E Networks Latin America’s General Manager for Brazil – posing 10 questions about how they view the Brazilian pay TV market and the overall growth potential of A+E Networks Brazil.

 

Emilio, what share does A&E have in Brazil’s pay-TV market?

Our share of audience January to June 2014 is 6%,  (YTD) including A&E, History and the launch of the new brands, Lifetime and H2, adding  the potential for significant growth in audience for the near future.

What are the main bases for your success in the Brazilian market?

I believe the main bases for the success in the Brazilian market are the great programming coming from A&E International, strong adaptation of content, localization and digital/marketing presence.

Without any doubt all of our great brands, especially History, which is one of the pay TV leaders, have a strong presence in the market. Earlier this year we welcomed Rick Dale, from American Restoration, in a consumer event at São Paulo where we had over 20,000 fans come to meet them in a local mall.  There is also a great potential for A&E’s new tagline ‘Be Original’ as well the launch of Lifetime and H2 channels this year.

We have a great team of professionals who are engaged with the brands, and programming strategies which are tailor made by Brazilians for Brazilian audience, based on the A&E’s recognized brand series, local productions and local acquisitions.  And of course, we have the esteemed commitment of the A+E Network’s top management to support development of the market.

How do you position your activities in Brazil in comparison with the rest of A+E in Latin America?

There are not a lot of big differences in the activities that we develop in Brazil with the rest of Latin America, besides the language. We focus our energies on positioning our group as leaders in the market as we do in other countries, developing strategies to grow our business in distribution, brand positioning, ad sales, original productions, digital and social media platforms.

What have been your principal experiences in screening shows from Brazilian independent producers?

There are not a lot of options for acquisitions currently in the market, and that’s a real challenge for all the networks. Having said that, we had good numbers with “Investigação Criminal” and “Polícia 24h”, both acquisitions aired on A&E.  Same happens with our original productions for A&E and History.

Krishna, have these shows benefited from support from the Fundo Sectorial?

No.

How has the 2012 pay TV law changed your business?

Our group understood the importance of localization long before the pay tv law, we knew Brazilian content gives us audience, so we had enough hours on History and A&E to comply with the quota, therefore we believed the law was positive at first.

Unfortunately, other networks that didn’t co-produce and were not prepared, had to run to the market and acquire whatever was available. Now there’s a lack of options for acquisitions of ready to air series, costs to produce have gone up and ultimately audience suffers the biggest negative impact.

What are the strongest potential areas of growth in Brazilian independent TV production – for example, animation, documentary series, fiction?

We have a great challenge/opportunity with factual programming, especially reality series, as Brazilian producers are still learning how to make them and ensure they don’t look or feel fake.

The field that has most business opportunity in terms of licensing products and long shelf life is animation, but unfortunately this is not our area.

Do you have any fixed partnerships or outlook deals with Brazilian independent producers.

We identify best producers depending on the area, and we have several different partners, but nothing fixed, quite the opposite. We don’t do two productions at the same time with any partner. Also our doors are open to fresh new ideas and we understand there’s a great potential with the new upcoming producers.

Through your partnerships in Latin America do productions from Brazilian independent producers circulate abroad?

Yes, sometimes they do. We try to produce for the entire region, but we understand it depends a lot on the theme. Productions from Mexico or Argentina sometimes do well; sometimes they don’t perform as well as in that specific market. With Brazilian content, besides these normal variations, there’s a language issue as well as cultural differences, but we do have successful cases.

Do you have further expansion plans in Brazil or other territories that can be disclosed at present?

Our expectations are to continue growing within the Brazilian market.