SANTIAGO DE CHILE — Chile’s leading broadcaster Mega TV is heading to Mipcom with its new sales and distribution company, Mega Global Entertainment (MGE), launched this year. Led by former Telemundo Int’l exec Esperanza Garay as its new CEO, MGE is taking Mega’s original programming, built up over the past three years, to the Cannes confab. These include the 14 telenovelas it has produced as well as hit reality shows such as “Volverias Con Tu Ex?” (“Would You Go Back to Your Ex?”) where estranged couples are put together in a house and forced to reassess why they split up in the first place.
Mega TV has also ventured into its first co-production, an estimated 60-episode Super Series with Argentina’s Telefe, currently in development, said Juan Ignacio Vicente, Mega’s head of content and international business. “We’re hoping to participate in more co-productions that would appeal across Latin America,” said Vicente.
Titled “12 Seconds,” the thriller turns on a widower whose young son contracts a rare disease that his ex-wife had. He finds out about an experimental drug that could cure his son but the female doctor refuses to administer it. Desperate, the widower kidnaps the doctor’s daughter in order to force her to treat his son. The 12 seconds refers to the time limit before a phone call can be traced.
Like so many broadcasters worldwide, Mega TV, despite its prominent position for the past four years in Chile, has had to contend with the growing popularity of streaming services, shifting consumer viewing habits, and in the case of Chile, an ad market that has dropped by 5% since last year.
To that end, Mega TV has been devoting more resources to its website, putting a planned app on hold for now. Its biggest hit, priest scandal telenovela “Forgive Us Our Sins” (Perdona Nuestros Pecados”) has driven visitors to its site, posting an average of 35 million visitors a month. Mega TV’s news page registers more than nine million unique users a month.
The soap that gripped this country of roughly 17 million inhabitants, boosted Mega TV’s ratings to unprecedented levels, generating average ratings of 28 and a 40 share in its 10 p.m. time slot, nearly triple that of competing programs on its next biggest rival, Canal 13.
The telenovela recently wrapped and has been replaced by new Mega soap“Casa de Muñecos” (“House of Dolls”), which has held its own, its first episode – out of around 100 – registering 28.8 in ratings and a 42 share.
“Casa de Muñecos” revolves around a household of four adult sisters whose mother decides to leave their father after 50 years of marriage. Their parents’ separation makes them question their own lives.
Mega TV’s rise to its number one spot can be credited to its executive team, led by CEO Patricio Hernandez, head of content Patricia Bazan; production and operations chief Andrea Dell’Orto and Vicente, who have been spearheading more original programming and new ventures.
Since June 2016, Discovery Communications has held a 27.5% stake in the channel, which airs four hours a week of Discovery programs.