Nov 8, 2011


The IX Telenovela Summit took place last week in Miami and generated some news stories. Here are a couple:

Creators aim for the world at US 'telenovela' summit (AFP)
MIAMI — Creators of telenovelas -- the dramatic Latin American incarnation of soap operas -- from 22 countries gathered this week in Miami to champion their genre as "more alive than ever" as they aim for new markets in Asia, eastern Europe and even Afghanistan. [Read more...] 
Note: Telenovelas are not "the dramatic Latin American incarnation of soap operas." Statements like this blur the important differences between telenovelas and soap operas (1, 2), and dismiss the fact that telenovelas constitute a genre whose origins are in Latin America. 

Telenovelas face challenge of reaching young people (EFE via COMTEX) 
Miami, Nov 7, 2011-- The lucrative world of telenovelas faces the challenge of attracting young people through new platforms, experts in the sector agreed at a meeting in Miami.  [Read more...]
Note: The challenge isn't to reach young people. They're already watching telenovelas. The real challenge is to realize that "to watch television" doesn't mean anymore "to sit in front of a TV set." And telenovela fans around the world have known this for a while. But, are producers and distributors catching up?

Another story worth noting appeared on Slate Magazine and focused on Univision's recipe for success:

Noches con Telenovelas: What’s behind Univision’s remarkable success?

One of Univision’s secrets is consistency. No one needs to consult a schedule to know what’s on: Every weeknight from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Eastern, the network runs the same three telenovelas back-to-back-to-back. [Read more...]
Note: Consistency is a key factor in telenovelas' successful consumption. But, it's also important to mention that the genre is embedded in cultures originating in Latin America, which make the majority of Univision's audience. 

Nov 1, 2011


Telenovelas are habit. And to that end, they must be broadcast regularly. That's how they become an ingredient of the everyday life of those who watch them. 

Regarding the desired regularity in their broadcast, (and in addition to the constant interruption of the mandatory presidential broadcasts--cadenas presidenciales), we can say that Venezuelan television has two clearly defined seasons. And these present different levels of difficulty for the regular transmission of telenovelas

Season 1--March-August: 

  • Telenovelas can be interrupted because of Mardi Gras (if it happens to fall on March), and because of Holy Week
  • But, the main difficulty that this season presents is that during school vacations in July and August, the audience tends to lack constancy in its daily schedules and habits. 
  • I should also mention that in the years in which the FIFA World Cup is played in a country whose time zone requires evening broadcast in Venezuela, telenovelas suffer interruption in their transmission during June and/or July.

Season 2--September-February: 

  • September means back to school and to the daily routine. 
  • However, from October to February, telenovelas broadcast in Venevisión suffer from many interruptions due to the Venezuelan baseball season and, later, the Serie del Caribe. When these telenovelas aren't broadcast, the audience turns to the competing melodramas and Venevisión telenovelas' numbers suffer. 
  • Christmas and New Year festivities also interrupt regular programming in Venezuela. 
  • If there are elections (presidential and regional elections are traditionally held in the last quarter of the calendar year), telenovela transmission is further interrupted by special election and pre-election coverage. 
  • In addition to these many interruptions, we should mention that media space pre-sales (preventa) also occur in the last quarter of the calendar year. This, coupled with the premiere of the new season of all U.S. and European series broadcast in cable, heightens the level of competition and difficulty of the September-February season for telenovelas.