On April 18, during the NAB show in Las Vegas, some of the telenovela industry’s most important players will take part in a conference entitled “TV Trends: New Telenovelas.”

The conference, which is part of NAB’s newly introduced Content Theater program, will focus on the fastest growing TV drama genre in the world. In addition to being produced in their native Latin America, telenovelas are now produced in countries such as Turkey, Jordan,  South Korea, Romania and Spain.

Speakers include VideoAge‘s own Dom Serafini, Venevision International’s Cesar Diaz, Univision Communications’ Jessica Rodriguez, TV Globo’s Ricardo Scalamandre and TV Azteca’s Marcel Vinay H.

We spoke to Arthur Schweitzer, who’s spearheading the NAB’s Content Theater, for more on this particular conference.

It’s the first time the NAB has held a conference on telenovelas, and it’s part of their continued focus on independents’, plus, according to Schweitzer, the time is right to turn attention to telenovelas.

VideoAge International: Why focus on telenovelas now?

Arthur Schweitzer: Telenovela programming is an increasingly important area because it’s one of the areas of programming surging in the global marketplace. It doesn’t always get recognition, and people want to know what the telenoveleros are doing to keep it fresh.

VAI: Why do you think they’re so popular around the world?

AS: I think the reason is they have a great niche in the drama area. The quality has been excellent, too. They’re also not too high priced, like  U.S. network dramas.

They do seem to grow audiences in diverse places like China and Dubai. It’s a strong global platform that they’re hitting now. But they’re also growing in this country.

VAI: How did you choose the panelists?

AS: We’ve been looking for leaders. There are a lot of good companies out there. TV Azteca was one of the earliest in the business. Venevision has been strong and TV Globo is one of the earliest, and continues to give a new look to telenovelas. TV Globo has gone into Bollywood and created a telenovela there, with the flavor of the Indian art form.

We were looking at companies that have the longevity, but are also coming up with new ways to keep the genre growing.

VAI: What do you expect to be a hot topic at this year’s conference?

AS: What is coming up next in terms of formats and devices. We are a digital media and technology event– that’s the larger part of our business. We’re going to see more dialogue between producers, distributors and digital people.

VAI: Are telenovelas well-suited for new platforms?

AS: Yes. In the beginning it was unrealized how large an audience they have. Now that it’s realized there’s a great audience it for telenovelas, and people are interested in making them available on all these platforms.

VAI: The conference is titled “TV Trends: New Telenovelas.” What’s new in telenovelas?

AS: It’s about the scope, the number of countries embracing them. Also, telenovelas have evolved and become more pop cultural, they’ve adapted thematic and socially.

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