Telenovelas are the New Baywatch

In the LA Times this morning, there is an article in the business section about Intel‘s new Viiv multimedia technology. The gist of the article is that Intel wants to sell more PC’s built around its Viiv home entertainment technology, but, in order to do so, Intel is working with studios, networks, and internet portals to use the Intel technology to deliver programming through computers around the world.

That’s not what interested me, though. Rather, near the end of the article, the author discusses some of the specific examples of connections between content providers and content watchers that Intel thinks they might be able to enable. According to the article, there’s “an enormous appetite worldwide for dramas via broadband connections” and “Mexican soap operas seem to address the demand for content quite nicely.” The article continues by saying that “Asian TV viewers eat up the melodramas, which are full of the visceral passion and tragedy that characterizes home grown shows.”

carrusel

The “Carrusel” cast members love their Korean fans!

A 23-year old South Korean who is interviewed for the article says that she still remembers how much she loved “Carrusel” a Mexican novela that was dubbed into Korean that she watched when she was in elementary school. “The characters were all foreign so it was new to Korean children, and that made it interesting. But we didn’t know it was a Mexican TV show. We just knew it was a foreign program,” she says. And now, a remake of “Carrusel”, renamed “Vivian los Niños” has captivated a new generation of Koreans.

Apparently the Mexican media companies are well-aware of the appeal of their products, because Televisa, the largest Mexican media company (and also the company that made “Carrusel” and “Vivian los Niños”) produces more shows than it can broadcast domestically. The LA times article claims that Televisa “puts out 50,000 hours of programming a year, much more than American networks” and that the “shows are translated into 15 languages with dubbing or subtitles and broadcast in 70 countries.”

I’ve always been kind of interested in the Mexican soap operas that seem to be constantly running on the Spanish-language channels on my TV, but I never realized how popular they are around the world. I don’t know if any single telenovela will ever reach the same level of popularity as a show like Baywatch, which was syndicated in 148 countries, but it’s obvious that Televisa has found a formula that works for them. If the future of the home media progresses as many people think that it will (i.e. toward one portal/computer that delivers all of our radio, internet, television, and movie content), then the business model of generating a lot of content and letting the consumer decide which trashy novela to watch will continue to be successful, and Intel is smart to try to be in the middle of it all.

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2 Comments on “Telenovelas are the New Baywatch”

  1. Juan Says:

    Funny. I used to think over 30 was old!

  2. lisa Says:

    “Carrusel”
    Ι used to watch it during the 90s when i was a kid.
    It did make a good impression in Greece at that time everybody was watching it. 😛


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