×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

South African Sale of ‘So Much Love’ Highlights TV Azteca’s Strategy

As broadcasters around the world get more involved in creating their own content, based-out-of-Mexico, TV Azteca's strategy is well characterized by their original productions

In a move indicative of the growing international reach of the company, TV Azteca has sold its telenovela “So Much Love” in South Africa, a market that company marketing manager Andrés Payá said has “always given a great reception to this Latin American genre and, especially, to the productions of TV Azteca.”

A few short years ago, Azteca, Mexico’s second largest broadcaster, found themselves in a hole, suffering the same symptoms as so many across Latin America displayed. However, after a change of leadership and philosophy, the company is now trending in a direction more appreciated by analysts, fueled largely by the multi-platform success of its original programming, and a willingness to adapt to more current trends in format and narrative.

Azteca’s bread has traditionally been buttered by telenovelas, but as the popularity of the format began to wane, many Latin American broadcasters have abandoned or attempted to overhaul the format. Azteca is a latter case. Higher production values, bigger budgets and consolidation of international markets that appreciate, and often replicate, Mexican telenovelas have proved boons for the format and the company. To date, Azteca has sold “So Much Love” in more than 60 countries, mostly in Latin America and Africa.

No trend in Latin American programming has been more obvious in recent years than the rise of the narco-novela, and Azteca is hip to that game.

In its flagship super-series “Iron Lady,” a female prosecutor’s father is murdered by drug cartels, and she must use all of her resources to make sure justice is done. While made for, and especially relevant to Mexican audiences, the series has sold well outside of its home territory, including Netflix deals in Ecuador, Vietnam and Ethiopia, and a U.S. Deal with Univision.

Beyond improving the quality of its content, Azteca has steered its in-house productions towards more contemporary, socially relevant themes. Super-series “Bad Maids” is a strong example. In it, a journalist who has recently lost her mother learns that the woman who raised her may not be her biological parent. In an attempt to investigate her true heritage, she goes undercover at a maid service which she quickly learns is a front for a forced surrogacy organization.

Azteca has also shown a willingness to diversify the types of fiction it produces. “Two Lakes” is a deviation from the norm in narrative and in format. Clocking in at 13 sixty-minuted episodes, it fits into a more standard international format often shared by other content on Amazon, who recently secured Latin American broadcast rights.

The program, co-produced with 20th Century Fox and based on the BBC series “Lightfields,” has fantasy and genre elements. A multi-generational haunted house tale, “Two Lakes” follow three families in three distinct decades, who all live in the same haunted house.

Another area where the broadcaster has invested heavily is in the scale of its productions. During a masterclass at October’s Mipcom, TV Azteca CEO Benjamin Salinas announced that the company’s parent company, Grupo Salinas, had opened a new, high-end production wing called Dopamine.

Along with Sony Pictures TV, Dopamine is co-producing “Mary Magdalene,” the first titled announced by the company. Salinas has committed $200 million towards new and original high-end content to be produced by Dopamine, which will act independently from TV Azteca, with its own management, budget and sales team. While it will produce content for Azteca, Salinas didn’t dismiss the possibility of producing for other broadcasters or platforms as well.

More TV

  • 'The Crown': Josh O'Connor, Erin Doherty

    'The Crown': Josh O'Connor, Erin Doherty on Charles and Anne 'Breaking the Mold'

    SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you have not yet watched “The Crown” Season 3 on Netflix. The arrivals of Prince Charles (Josh O’Connor) and Princess Anne (Erin Doherty) midway through “The Crown’s” third season infuse the show with a youthful energy reminiscent of the first two years. But, they also offer a sense of rebelliousness, [...]

  • SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE -- "Harry Styles"

    Harry Styles Premieres New Song, Plays Trash-Eating Dog on ‘Saturday Night Live’ (Watch)

    The past couple of seasons of “Saturday Night Live” have seen some impressive hosting/musical performer double-duty stints, including Childish Gambino, Halsey and Chance the Rapper — and last night Harry Styles was more than up to the challenge. The singer appeared in nearly every skit — including turns as a naïve office intern, a gangster, [...]

  • Mindy Kaling Actors on Actors

    Why Mindy Kaling Turned to Social Media to Find the Lead of Her Netflix Series

    Constance Wu (“Hustlers”) and Mindy Kaling (“Late Night”) explained how the internet helped expand the casting pool for their projects during a conversation for “Variety Studio: Actors on Actors.” Wu began the interview: “When I did ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ and they were looking for actors, it was crazy how many people said, ‘Well, there are [...]

  • SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE -- "Harry Styles"

    'Saturday Night Live' Turns the Impeachment Hearings Into a Soap Opera (Watch)

    “Saturday Night Live” kicked off its Nov. 16 episode with a take on the biggest news story of the previous week (and foreseeable future): the impeachment hearings. But another big story of the week, especially in Hollywood, was how NBC’s last remaining daytime drama, “Days of our Lives,” had let its actors out of their [...]

  • Andy Cohen attends BravoCon's "Watch What

    'The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City' to Debut in 2020

    Bravo announced Saturday during its first annual BravoCon that a tenth “Real Housewives” series, “The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City,” will debut in 2020. Bravo host and “Real Housewives” executive producer Andy Cohen made the announcement during a panel titled “Ask Andy” at the NYC convention. “We’ve always tried to choose a city that [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content