MIPCOM key to Cannes

MIPCOM key to Cannes

With more than 2 billion people watching tele-novelas worldwide, it's not surprising that the organizers of next month's international TV market MIPCOM have earmarked the genre as a key element of the Cannes confab.

Last year, MIPCOM catered to telenovelas out of Latin America. But with an explosion across the globe for the drama format, MIPCOM is greatly expanding the popular Telenovelas Screenings, which run Oct. 7-8 at the Hotel Carlton on the eve of the MIPCOM market.

"We have doubled the Telenovela Screenings event this year," says Paul Johnson, director of television at MIPCOM organizer Reed-Midem. "The first year, we were focusing primarily on the Latin American production community -- the creators of the telenovela genre. While we will still continue along that line in 2006, we have now opened the screenings for everyone in the world that is developing, creating, formatting, producing and acquiring telenovelas."

He adds, "We're trying to showcase some of the major trends today and why companies are not only acquiring the rights for these passionate dramas but are actively working with the content creators in developing appropriate format models in their own language," he says.

Most recently "That's Life," the local German version of the "Ugly Betty" international telenovela franchise, garnered about 7.4 million viewers for ARD, an astounding 25.9% of market share (HR 9/5).

"Ugly Betty," or "Yo Soy Betty La Fea" as it originally was called, is a worldwide franchise now -- with ABC airing a version beginning Sept. 28.

Notes Johnson: "ABC's American adaptation of the hit telenovela 'Betty La Fea' is a great example of the Latin phenomenon that is sweeping the world, from music to entertainment. These formatted telenovelas are just one way to capture and enjoy this culture. 'Ugly Betty' is a great example of the trend we will be exploring in more depth during our conferences."

About 80 telenovelas are produced in such international territories as Portugal, Spain, Eastern Europe, Southeast Asia and Russia.

Johnson says participants in the screenings this year include Caracol Television, Globo TV International, RCN Television, RCTV, Telefe International, Televisa Estudios, Tepuy International along with Telemundo and TV Azteca. He adds, "We also have a number of freshman including Endemol, Sony Pictures Television, ProSiebenSat.1, YLE and Antena 3."

In addition, the Telenovela Screenings have started to attract the digital media players, Johnson says. Such companies as Infospace, Amazon, Vodafone France and Telecom Italia will be attending. "I think the increase of buyers from traditional and digital platforms reflects the enormous interest in this genre of programming," Johnson says.

"Our screening events (MIPDOC, MIPCOM Junior and now Telenovelas Screenings) are meant for one thing and one thing only: to allow buyers enough time to screen productions before the market in order to increase the potential sales during MIPCOM and MIPTV. It is our intention to continue to grow Telenovelas Screenings organically as a separate event that complements MIPCOM," he adds.