Inside Viacom‘s Original Production Strategy in LatAm

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by Sebastin Amoroso the 10/07/2018
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Federico Cuervo, Brand Manager at Comedy Central and SVP of Production at Viaco International Media Networks Americas, spoke to ttvnews about the company’s new production strategy and its ongoing projects in Latin America.

Present at the LA Screenings in May, Viacom International Media Networks Americas (VIMNA) announced a major push towards original content production for its brands, as well as third parties, with the creation of the Viacom International Studios.
 
To find out more about this new strategy and the projects announced, ttvnews spoke to Federico Cuervo, Brand Manager at Comedy Central and SVP of Production at Viacom International Media Networks Americas.
 
Comedy Central Latin America started filming new seasons of its successful original format La culpa es... How is it preparing for these multiple shoots in Argentina?
 
This is an original show by Comedy Central Latin America that became a format and in each country we have different seasons. We filmed the sixth season of A culpa es du Cabral (Brazil), version that kick-started other projects like the second season of La culpa es de Llorente (Colombia), the third of La culpa es de Cortes (Mexico) and the second of La culpa es de Colon, female version (Argentina).
 
They all have a premiere date that’s yet TBD for this year and they were filmed in Telefe’s studios in Martínez (Buenos Aires).
 
La culpa es de...
 
Why did you film every version in Argentina?
 
As Viacom we have studios in Miami and Argentina. The main reason is budgetary, filming every version in Argentina as a production hub makes the budget and production much more efficient. And also because we already have the facilities set up, we have the studio, the set, the tech team from Telefe, with production by Viacom-Telefe.
 
So there’s already a structure set up and if we wanted to replicate it in every country, we would have to do it all over again. Here it’s all ready to be used. And Argentina is a great production hub. It has a vast expertise. Countless foreign format versions have been done there.
 
In this sense, we all understand this is an in-house production service for another Viacom brand, just like we’re filming a new season of Kally’s Mashup at Telefe. Last year we shot the first season and now we’re doing the second for Nick as a production service.
 
What other original projects does Comedy Central have in the region?
 
On June 6, 7 and 8, the local version of Duelo de comediantes was filmed in Mexico, an original Comedy Central US format called Roast Battle. The show presents comedians who roast each other. Two seasons were developed in the US and one in the UK this year, with another one coming. And now we’ll do the first version in Mexico. The comedians will be announced soon.
 
We are also filming many stand up shows. We continue to be the home of stand up. We just shot 26 new episodes in Brazil and in late July, we will do 30 new ones in Mexico, on top of the four half-hour specials we did. 
 
And what projects does Viacom have on a regional level?
 
Viacom has also focused on fiction projects. The first fiction series was Borges importadora for Comedy Central in Brazil, which ended in May and now has its second window on Netflix for LatAm. We are preparing a new series with Porta dos Fundos -part of Viacom- for Comedy Central. It’s still untitled.
 
We also announced Para atrapar un ladrón, adaptation of the classic Alfred Hitchcock film. It’s a project developed by Viacom. We hired Javier Olivares, creator and screenwriter of The Ministry of Time. Meanwhile, Los internacionales is a co-production between Viacom and Mediapro. They’re different variable to produce, but it’s Viacom’s production team.
 
Borges importadora
 
What stage are these projects in?
 
The two projects are now in development, we are finishing the scripts and the production design, while defining the different business models, because not everything will go on Viacom’s screen. It could be original for a third party. Guillermo Borensztein’s team is closing the business part and my team is closing everything for the production.
 
Of all these titles, which one presents the most challenges?
 
I think they all have something special that makes them unique. Working for Para atrapar un ladrón, the version of a super successful movie by Paramount Pictures, with Javier Olivares in Spain, with his name and with how good Spanish productions are now, there’s something so special about it.
 
Los internacionales, which in turn is a Colombia-Argentina-Mexico co-production, based on a real story with international talent, also has that special something.
 
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