Fox Int'l Channels acquires Telecolombia

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MEXICO CITY -- News Corp.'s Fox International Channels has acquired 51% of Colombian shingle Telecolombia as it looks to boost its original TV offerings for the Spanish-language market in Latin America and the U.S.

Fox declined to disclose financial details of the deal.

The newly formed Bogota-based production outfit, dubbed Fox Telecolombia, plans to produce about 500 hours of scripted content this year. The first production, an as-yet-unnamed weekly drama series, will air on the Fox Channel in September throughout Latin America.

Fox Latin American Channels president Hernan Lopez said the shingle is looking to create a Spanish-language series along the lines of "Nip/Tuck," one of the company's highest-rated shows in the region.

This year, Fox International Channels formed production house Fox Toma 1 with Argentine content producer Ernesto Sandler. The two production ventures will allow Fox International Channels to produce 2,500 hours of Spanish-language content a year, totaling about 10% of the company's total revenue, Lopez said.

Fox Telecolombia will continue to provide content to two of its most important buyers: Univision-owned, Spanish-language broadcaster Telefutura and Colombian network RCN. Telefutura recently finished airing the Telecolombia-produced novela "Por Amor."

Samuel Duque, founder of Telecolombia and former head of RCN, was named president and chief executive of Fox Telecolombia. He will report to Lopez and Emiliano Saconne, senior vp marketing and entertainment at Fox Latin American Channels.

Lopez said the long-term plan is to increase production volume as Fox International Channels seeks new clients in Spanish-speaking territories.

"We (Fox Telecolombia) would like to double production hours from 500 to 1,000 in three years," he said.
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