Winner Takes All. Maybe the biggest trend at this year’s Mipcom, judged by titles on show and announcements – think RTL/Beta’s “Sisi,” the Alliance’s “Around the World in 80 Days” or VIS’ just-announced “Bosé” – was the move into big high-end event series based on big big IP.
The Hollywood studios have been doing this for years of course. Now, when it comes to bringing blockbusters onto the open market, it’s largely the turn of the the world’s big independents. Brazil’s Globo, Latin America’s biggest media company, is no exception. On Oct. 20, in a milestone move, it will bow the first 10 episodes of “Hidden Truths II,” its biggest 2021 scripted play.
It’s the second season of a jewel in Globo’s modern crown. Airing from 11 p.m. on TV Globo, the group’s main free-to-air channel, from June to September 2015, “Hidden Truths” hit massive ratings – 25.6% points and a 52% share for in its final episode – making it the second most-watched show ever in Globo late primetime.
Reaping an upbeat critical reception, the series went on to win a 2016 Intl. Emmy for best telenovela – and be nominated for a second, for Grazi Massafera as best actress. Outside Brazil, it also sold to 75 countries, proving an audience leader in Mexico, Argentina, Chile, Peru, Uruguay, Puerto Rico and Portugal.
For Globo’s free-to-air audiences – of which 30 million or more watch its peak primetime telenovelas – “Hidden Truths” already pushed the envelope in the story of Angel (Camila Queiroz), who moves to Sao Paulo and signs up for a modeling agency, which proves a front for a prostitution racket.
With her family in dire financial straights, she falls into prostitution as she has an affair with Alex (Rodrigo Lombardi), a powerful and obsessive textile tycoon who, in order to get close to Angel, marries her mother, Carolina.
So far, “Hidden Truths” might seem to prime the melodrama, the sense of love as all-consuming passion, and the class-crossing relationships which are the evergreen staples of telenovelas. But “Hidden Truths” delivered such elements in a fast-paced format of just 60 episodes whose love scenes were notable for their sexual candor. And it ends in tragedy when Carolina surprises Alex and Angel in bed and takes her own life. Angel goes with Alex on a yacht trip and kills him.
Reprising events six years on, “Hidden Truths II” looks set to push the envelope all the more as Globo leverages the SVOD/free-to-air dual delivery which has opened up new opportunities – commercial and artistic – for major broadcast networks around the world.
Telenovelas are the “most important and influential audiovisual product of Brazilian culture,” Erick Bretas, Globo’s director of digital products and services, is quoted as saying. Globoplay, Globo’s AVOD/SVOD service, will become the first platform to air a telenovela designed from conception for streaming, he added.
Created again by Walcyr Carrasco (“The Other Side of Paradise”), “Hidden Truths II” catches Angel bankrupt, widowed and with child to support. She turns once more to prostitution, as Giovanna (Aghata Moreira) comes back from Paris willing to do anything to prove that Angel killed her father, Alex, and accusing Angel of a second murder. Hired to prove Angel’s guilt, Cristiano, a private detective, soon falls for her charms. Meanwhile, another ingenue arrives at the modeling agency, to be become embroiled in darker world.
Globo has slapped “Hidden Truth’s II’s” Globoplay series with an 18-and-over recommendation. A rerun of the original “Hidden Truths” in late TV Globo primetime since August of this year has won its timeslot, taking a 32% share and snagging an audience of 20 million. Consumption of the original on Globoplay has risen 400% as “Hidden Truths” and its sequel become frequent trending topics.
The first 10 episodes of “Hidden Truths II” will broadcast on Globoplay alone from Oct. 20. Release dates for the remaining 40 episodes and their free-to-air broadcast have still to be confirmed. Glimpsed in a trailer and teaser, the steamy sex scenes already have social media on fire, and professional media analyzing Globo’s every marketing move.
Which is precisely what Globo wants. The SVOD broadcast is designed to boost Globoplay subscriptions, Bretas has recognized.
But, in an international way, “Hidden Truths II” has a larger point. Telenovelas still make for addictive consumption in much of the world. Their challenge has been their own popularity, recommending caution on sex and violence.
Now, however, the bar of what’s acceptable has been raised by studio streamers worldwide, allowing Globo to refashion one of its greatest recent IPs for both platform and free-to-air – and many overseas buyers now have both services – at home and then abroad, honing the series’ sexual candor and stealing a march on more conservative telenovelas from Turkey.
A buyers world premiere, with a first-episode exclusive screening and Variety as a media partner, will take place online on Nov. 5.