×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

MipTV: Cote Ouest, Globo Re-Up Content Deal

African distributor bolsters Brazilian catalog, adds original programming

CANNES — Cote Ouest, the pioneering company that first brought Latin American telenovelas to Africa, has re-upped its deal with Brazil’s Globo TV, extending until 2023 its position as the sole distributor of Globo programming in Africa and French overseas territories.

The deal builds on a relationship that the companies forged 17 years ago. Pointing toward Brazil’s rich cultural ties to the continent, Cote Ouest CEO Bernard Azria said the company was renewing its partnership “with an international studio that in my view is the best placed to understand and serve a continent of 1.2 billion.”

“They’ve got content that resonates with the culture of the African population,” he said. “It’s written in the Globo DNA.”

Along with the distribution deal, Latin America’s biggest broadcaster has enlisted Cote Ouest in its search for potential co-production partners on the continent, according to Azria. It’s a move that points to Globo’s growing desire to become a major international co-production player, while recognizing that, in the Cote Ouest topper’s words, “Africa is the next El Dorado.”

Founded in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, in 1993, Cote Ouest was launched as a distributor for Hollywood studios before moving into telenovelas and, later, building the world’s largest catalog of African content. In 2013, the company launched its own production arm, to address what Azria saw as a growing desire for homegrown series in Africa.

Pointing to two decades’ experience as a distributor, Azria described the move as “a big turn in the strategy for the company.” However, he added, “the thirst for local productions is getting bigger and bigger everyday.”

Cote Ouest has three series in production: “40 & Single,” a co-production with the U.S. and Ghana, about a Ghanaian fashion designer torn between settling down and staying independent; “21,” a coming-of-age series set in Abidjan; and “Les Bobodiouf,” a comedy from Burkina Faso. Also in development is a South African police drama, “Gospel,” and an untitled co-production between Morocco and Ivory Coast.

The production slate’s range and ambition reflects the company’s devotion to erasing borders. Cote Ouest pioneered efforts to dub popular African series into both English and French, proving that in much of the continent, cultural similarities in neighboring countries can transcend linguistic barriers. That conviction is central to the company’s mission today. “We never invest even a penny in a project that cannot travel,” said Azria.

The vast Globo catalog offers Cote Ouest plenty of options to look at how series can travel in different ways. With “Mister Brau,” a popular musical sitcom about a black Brazilian pop star who moves into an upper-class white neighborhood, Azria is exploring whether to dub the series into French and English or adapt it and rewrite the script for African territories. The two companies are also working together to develop formats that can be sold to local producers.

For Cote Ouest, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, the key to another successful 25 years is finding ways to capitalize on a TV market that’s increasingly global.

“Making content that is able to travel all over the world is crucial,” said Azria. “The future of independent African production is outside the continent.”

More TV

  • WGA Agents Contract Tug of War

    Writers Guild Expands Suit Against Agencies With New Fraud Allegations

    The Writers Guild of America has bulked up its lawsuit with additional fraud allegations against Hollywood’s four biggest talent agencies. The WGA amended its suit Monday in Los Angeles Superior Court with the claim that CAA, WME, UTA and ICM partners have engaged “constructive fraud” by allegedly placing their own interests ahead of their clients [...]

  • Jason Mitchell

    Jason Mitchell Dropped From 'The Chi' Season 3, Netflix Film

    Jason Mitchell is being dropped from a number of his current and upcoming projects. Variety has confirmed that the up and coming actor will not return for “The Chi’s” already announced third season, with Season 2 of the show currently airing on Showtime. In addition, Mitchell will no longer be starring in the Netflix film “Desperados,” in [...]

  • Maisie Williams

    TV News Roundup: Maisie Williams to Guest Judge 'RuPaul's Drag Race UK'

    In today’s roundup, Maisie Williams will guest judge on “RuPaul’s Drag Race UK” and “Drunk History” will return with eight new episodes to Comedy Central.  DATES Comedy Central‘s “Drunk History” will return with eight new episodes beginning with “Derek Waters’ Believe It or Not” Tuesday, June 18 at 10 p.m. The series premiere of “Alternatino [...]

  • Lisa Kudrow

    Lisa Kudrow Joins Lee Daniels-Whitney Cummings Comedy Pilot 'Good People' at Amazon

    Lisa Kudrow has signed on to star in and executive produce the comedy pilot “Good People” currently in the works at Amazon, Variety has learned. The half-hour project hails from writers and executive producers Whitney Cummings and Lee Daniels, with Cummings also set to star. It centers on three generations of women working in the [...]

  • 'Game of Thrones' Series Finale: Much

    'Game of Thrones' Series Finale: A Lot of 'Love' Despite Much-Criticized Ending

    Spoiler alert: Do not read until you’ve watched “The Iron Throne,” the series finale of HBO’s “Game of Thrones,” aka season 8, episode 6. Bran Stark may have a perpetual poker face, but “Game of Thrones” fans certainly had a lot of feelings about him Sunday night. The stony faced character was the No. 1 [...]

  • Naomi Watts Game of Thrones

    Everything We Know About the 'Game of Thrones' Prequels (So Far)

    Prequels are coming. Fans looking for their next fix after “Game of Thrones,” rest assured, plans are already in the works to cash in on George R.R. Martin’s expansive fantasy universe. HBO has been tight-lipped about details, but at least one prequel series has already been ordered with four others in development. Ancient History The [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content