TV Companies in Latin America Follow Six Key Strategies

Club of Crows Netflix
Federico Garcia Castañeda/Netfl

Turner Latin America has sold the Brazilian Space original “Pacto de Sangre” to Netflix for the rest of Latin America. Turner’s focus on that specific content is Brazil, says Tomás Yankelevich, EVP & chief content officer, general entertainment Turner Latin America. Viacom Intl. Studios is negotiating a big SVOD deal in Latin America on Telefe and Porta dos Fundos titles, in development and new originals, says Pierluigi Gazzolo, president of Viacom Intl. Media Networks Americas. “We are actively targeting the OTTs,” says Cris Abrego, CEO of Endemol Shine North America. “Sometimes they look to a specific territory for their content, but more often they see the whole region as one, making it possible for us to pitch, sell and produce shows that will work throughout all of Latin America.” He cites “Nicky Jam: El Ganador,” produced for Netflix and Telemundo.

“A good show is not only one that performed well on its premiere,” says Edgar Spielmann, COO, Fox Networks Group, Latin America, it’s one, that “brings recurring viewing on our pay TV channels but most important that seduces our millions of users on our Fox App via non-linear consumption along several seasons.”

“The pay TV business is still strong,” says Yankelevich, at Turner Latin America, the region’s No. 1 pay TV player by market share. According to IHS Markit, Latin American pay TV penetration continues to grow, except in Brazil. The major challenge: Rising inflation, encouraging customers to cut the cord on pay TV linear services.

Endemol Shine Latino is focusing on “the three most important markets in the region: Brazil, Mexico and U.S. Hispanic,” says Abrego. A rising middle class is driving strong pay TV growth in Mexico, according IHS Markit. Turner has transferred Marcelo Tamburri from Argentina to Mexico, Endemol appointed Leonardo Zimbron (“Club de Cuervos”) to head a new scripted programming unit at Mexico’s Endemol Shine Boomdog.

“There are 20-some countries in Latin America; we have barely scratched the surface, and so much more to tap from Latin America’s wealth of literature and history,“ says Roberto Ríos, corporate VP, original productions, HBO Latin America. “There are a lot of under-explored genres in Latin America,” Ríos adds, citing HBO’s new Colombian original, “Mil Colmillos,” which “has some mystery elements, but is not about narco traffickers. We’d [also] love
to do a sci-fi program.”

The list of original and format sales is huge, as global properties, including “MasterChef,” expand. Such companies as Viacom bring powerful distribution systems to local programs. One bottom line remains: Proliferating distribution platforms place big value on signature shows.