The WIT: How LatAm Productions Can Conquer the Global Market

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Virginia Mouseler, CEO of The WIT

by @todotvnews the 16/03/2017
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Virginia Mouseler, CEO of The WIT, details the steps Latin America must take to shed its image of the classic telenovela-producer and become a heavyweight contender in the international content production arena.

As an answer to the international market's growing demand for quality dramas, Miptv is giving one of the region's best known for its drama productions, Latin America, a standout place in the upcoming event, with the organization of the first ever Miptv LatAm Screenings.
 
Hosted by Virginia Mouseler, CEO of The WIT, the event will take place on Monday, April 3, between 8:45 am and 10:00 am at the Auditorium A, as a showcase for the region's best drama productions.
 
Ahead of the event, the CEO spoke to ttv about the many elements that make the region a solid content producer and listed the steps it must take to stand tall in the international market. 
 
How important do you think Latin American fiction is in the international market?
 
Latin American fiction is getting more and more interesting for the international market as it is more and more "international" actually, with new genres and forms distancing the production from the telenovela tradition. It's international thanks to international themes, topics, characters, style, durations. Everybody in the world can relate to it. It is international but with a local flavor: that's the rule to follow in order to succeed in the international market now, anywhere you come from.
 
Does the market still see the region as only a telenovela producer?
 
Not only, but mostly, yes. Telenovelas, including quite traditional romantic telenovelas, make up the most important share of the LatAm production, viewing and exports. But it's a strong asset for a market to be identified with a style, a recipe, success, know-how. Not every market or region of the world has such a strong identity. That’s a great commercial base from where distributors may be able to sell different products, but it takes time and lots of marketing efforts to break into new territories. 
 
The whole image of the region has to evolve, a hit show has to emerge and then everybody will follow. Even if Netflix is seen as a dangerous competitor for most broadcasters in the region, Netflix is doing a lot of good for Latin America because it's giving the rest of the world access to some great Latin American productions (and LatAm Netflix originals). That’s a great window which will increase interest for LatAm productions, enabling Netflix subscribers to get used to and to like stories from this region.
 
Narcos - Netflix
 
Which new productions would you highlight from the region? Why?
 
I would highlight any production going into the trend we identified at the last Mipcom: "black is the new pink". Meaning LatAm productions are going more and more into new territories like thrillers, noir-styled series; and the pink-telenovela color tends to be less important. So I'm very excited to see mystery dramas or thrillers from LatAm producers, be it on Netflix, Blim, Telefe, Globo, Caracol…  There's a definitely a different feel the world should discover.
 
Biopics are now hot in the Latin American market. Do you think they can also work well in other markets?
 
The biopic trend is a very interesting development indeed. I think it’s the best chance for LatAm productions to break into markets outside LatAm. When they are based on celebrities known all over the world it's a great chance, like gangsters, politicians, sportsmen and artists. 
 
Hasta que te conocí - Disney Media Distribution LatAm
 
Biopics are more popular around the world, broadcasters understand it's a great marketing opportunity to be able to focus on a strong brand: in Australia and the US, you see more and more biopics about famous characters.
 
Which other trends do you see emerging from the region?
 
I think, from an international point of view, even if the trend is tired in LatAm, the theme of narco-trafficking, narco-gangsters, narco-thrillers is very interesting for the rest of the world. It mixes LatAm context and identity with international themes and personalities everybody relates to. Look at how well Escobar, el patron del mal from Caracol (fascinating even if a bit old fashioned now) did around the world, La Reina del Sur, also… and of course Netflix’s Narcos.
 
More recently I find interesting how narcos stories evolve now in Mexico for instance, integrating more complicated, mature stories, not only focusing on narcos, but also politicians and corruption. The whole system and not only the gangsters. From this point of view Netflix’s Ingobernable, with Kate del Castillo (now famous around the world thanks to El Chapo) is a very interesting evolution.
 
Ingobernable
 
What should Latin America do to be more relevant in the international fiction landscape?
 
I think Latin America is already doing a great job: biopics and thrillers related to the LatAm history or landscape is a good strategy. While at the same time, developing an "arty", "auteur" and "experimental feel", with series made for streaming platforms: those niche series will help give LatAm productions a different image, far from the colossal and industrial reputation of the big groups of the region. 
 
Because nowadays the interest for dramas is centered on innovative, transgressive series, not on the mainstream stuff from the free broadcasters. So it's important to get the recognition from a part of the audience which likes great directors, great stories, and then LatAm will be an eldorado for interesting series and a trend and fashion will be able to develop. The "cool factor" mustn't be neglected. 
 
Why are the MIPTV LatAm Screenings important and what we can expect from this event?
 
The Miptv LatAm Screenings is a new opportunity for broadcasters and distributors from the region to show buyers, journalists, how "cool" the production from the region is. To show that LatAm is not only a great production source for telenovelas but more generally for dramas. And that these productions are able to stand the competition, not only against Turkish telenovelas, but against the rest of the world. The market for international drama is booming, new platforms welcome international drama, the viewer is more and more global and educated, he choose his series not only based on their origin, but on the story and artistic values. And that's a great business opportunity now open for producers from all around the world, including LatAm.
 
So at the Miptv Latam screenings you’ll be able to get a taste of the latest, hottest, upcoming dramas from the region chosen on their ability to travel and captivate international audiences. 
 
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