Brazilian Cable TV Seeks Out Local Content

Execs from the international divisions of Sony, Turner and A&E met at the Rio Film Fest to discuss upcoming projects and needs.

RIO DE JANEIRO – Local execs from media conglomerates like Sony, Turner and A&E met yesterday at RioMarket, the Rio Film Fest's industry sidebar, to present their first responses to the recently enacted local-content quota and reach out to local producers in search of material.

Law 12.485, passed two years ago, requires cable TV networks to air three-and-a-half hours of Brazil-produced content, which is designed to encourage cooperation between international and local producers.

"The three channels of Sony in Brazil -- AXN, Canal Sony and Spin -- will continue to comply with the new local content quota through acquisitions and co-productions," Sony's Alexandre David told The Hollywood Reporter.

Sony had already partnered with Moonshot Pictures for Brazil's Next Top Model, which aired three seasons, from 2007 to 2009. Spin's first original production, multiplatform music reality show Breakout Brazil, aired last year and is planning a second season.

Last week, the network premiered Agora Sim!, its first 13-episode sitcom, co-produced by Sao Paulo-based Mixer. Agora Sim! focuses on an advertising agency and stars Fábio Herford, Augusto Madeira and Amanda Lyra.

Spin is currently seeking more content, according to David, who also announced a website is being developed where producers can submit projects.

"For us at Sony, all good ideas and projects from small, medium and large production companies are very welcome," David said.

Turner is also seeking 13-episode projects for channels like TNT, Space and TBS. The latter aired its first local show, The Elmiro Miranda Show, last year, co-producing with Paranoid. Turner's exec producer Camila Justo described the needs of different channels like TNT and Space, which looks for "more masculine, adrenaline-filled" content and has so far focused on sports in terms of local productions.

A&E is also premiering its first local show, Vivendo com o inimigo, on Oct. 11.

According to David, the importance of local content comes from the fact that audiences enjoy seeing themselves on the screens, "especially when it was created and developed according to the preferences of each channel's audience. But they're also demanding," he adds. "With this regulation, pay TV can only grow. And it's all pure gain for national production in Brazil."