Ana Celia Urquidi, CEO of Atenea Media, sat down with Carlos Quintanilla at Conecta Fiction to discuss the future of Spanish-language content. Quintanilla is the writer and creator of Netflix original “Control Z” and now serves as senior director of future original development at NBCUniversal Telemundo.
“The idea of the studio is to generate fiction for the different platforms. So we provide service to Peacock, we offer endlessly the content we generate – we have this very close relationship,” said Quintanilla. “And we create content for our own platform…but we also have a whole series of agreements with the other players in the market.”
Recently Telemundo announced the launch of their new division, NBCUniversal Telemundo Hispanic Streaming, which is set to provide 50 new projects to Peacock and other streaming platforms starting in 2022. Quintanilla is excited to be involved, saying “For me this is like the Disneyland of content because I can generate content, and then look for content in the market, for the streaming platforms.”
When asked about Telemundo’s interest in market ideas, such as co-productions, Quintanilla expressed excitement for collaboration. “Right now, everything is possible at the content market. We’re looking for new possibilities. I believe that what’s going on right now is very good for consumers; we’re looking for the best possible content here, and then alliances are always welcome, of course,” he said. “We are undergoing a unique moment, and Telemundo Streaming Studios is working and looking for alliances and new possibilities in different ways.” He also spoke about the reason for its versatile model. “All Spanish speakers need to have high quality content available. This is our goal.”
One way it plans to capture audience with higher quality content is by reimagining the telenovela format, finding ways to bring melodrama to a modern audience. “We need to look for that twist. I believe that’s the main challenge of creative people here,” said Quintanilla. “To develop that genre further…The soap opera we’re making right now is not the same one we used to have in the past. It’s been remastered.”
Despite forging ahead into new markets with new content, Telemundo has plans for their core audience, said Quintanilla, speaking of the “200% community.” “They are 100% Latino and 100% U.S. citizens. People [who] are used to very high quality programs, but they don’t want to lose their roots,” he said. “ We want the original stories about the Latinos that are already in the U.S. market. This is our commitment.”
Quintanilla spoke at length about the importance of the Latin world, and his passion for storytelling. When asked in closing about his personal dream, he paused a moment. “I am a storyteller. I’ve been so for a number of years. In the same way that I was trusted by some other people in the past, my goal would be to help others tell their stories,” he said. “And I would like to keep telling stories myself. And if my mother keeps liking them, I’ll be very happy.”