By Leah Hochbaum Rosner
At the global MIPCOM market, which will start October 13, television executives will turn their attention to nearly every single corner of the world. But Xavier Aristimuño, vp, Sales and International Business Development, Asia, of U.S.-based Telemundo Internacional which is part of the NBC Universal family, will be in Cannes with a one-track mind, focusing exclusively on The Orient. Aristimuño spoke with VideoAge about his company’s plans for MIPCOM, how and why Asia has developed an appetite for telenovelas and why the threat of rampant piracy in the region hasn’t deterred him from his plans to conquer the East.
VideoAge International: What product will Telemundo be bringing to the Palais?
Xavier Aristimuño: First, we have Sin Tetas No Hay Paraiso, a novela that offers an analysis of society’s single moms. We also have Doña Barbara, a complicated story about a tough woman who makes many sacrifices along the way to becoming a success. It’s based on a very popular book.
VAI: Why is MIPCOM such an important market for Telemundo to attend?
XA: MIPCOM has always been the most relevant market for us because it’s a global market. Other events, such as NATPE or DISCOP are more locally focused. Every market has its niche. But for us, MIPCOM continues to be one of the most important because of its global focus.
VAI: What territories will you be concentrating on while in Cannes?
XA: We’ll concentrate a lot on Asia. We’ve been in Asia for quite some time and had one or two telenovelas on every year for a number of years. China is a huge market for us, as is the Philippines. We’re also looking to send some of our product into India. It takes a little while longer to get programming on the air in Asia because of the extra time it takes the censors there to filter our product to make it suitable for local television, but it’s well worth the wait. We also have novelas in Japan, Korea and other Asian countries. We have a presence both on free-TV and IPTV. The market is growing every day.
VAI: Why are Telemundo’s novelas so popular in Asia?
XA: Because they’re simple love stories and they have a beginning and an end. People can relate to them. Plus, we tell big stories using high production values. People used to never care about stuff like that. But now, with so many different platforms and options available, quality really makes a difference.
VAI: Is there anything about Asia that does worry you?
XA: Piracy, of course. So we’re a little bit cautious. But we work with a number of media groups to try to control piracy, so it’s becoming less of a concern.