TV Azteca to launch Novelas net

Azteca Novela will be a 24-hour pay TV channel

MEXICO CITY -- Mexican broadcaster TV Azteca is preparing to launch Azteca Novelas, a 24-hour pay TV channel that will feature exclusive programming of the network's popular soaps.

About 50 pay TV systems are lined up thus far, according to international sales vp Marcel Vinay, including Telglobe for various markets in Central America. They also are negotiating with Imagenio and Jazztelia in Spain.

Vinay said the concept will be similar to that of TL Novelas, rival broadcaster Televisa's pay TV channel dedicated exclusively to soaps.

The channel will broadcast a six-hour programming block that will run four times a day.

Initially, Azteca Novelas will feature classic soaps such as "Nada Personal," the network's first novela production.

At a later point, Azteca Novelas will weave recent productions into the programming grid.

"It's a good way of taking advantage of the 60 novelas that we have," Vinay said.