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C21 DIGITAL SCREENINGS

HBO Latin America

Programming Profile

HBO Latin America focuses on quality over quantity

03-06-2020

The current boom in demand for non-English-language content is giving HBO Latin America plenty to celebrate and its C21 Digital Screenings playlist shows where the trend could be heading next.

 

When a storm of interference flashes on to your TV screen it’s usually a bad sign – unless it’s the introduction to an HBO series. The fuzzy, retro HBO branding has graced the opening seconds of hits like The Sopranos, Game of Thrones and Succession, and is almost a guarantee of quality.

 

HBO has remained an industry heavy-hitter for many years and has no intention of letting its place as industry royalty slip. Parent company WarnerMedia recently launched its own SVoD service, HBO Max, and HBO boasts of regional divisions across the globe, including HBO Europe, HBO Asia and HBO Latin America.

 

The latter has been active for 17 years and is looking to bring regional content on to the global scene and hoping to tap into the industry’s growth across Latin America, where pay TV has enjoyed a surge in viewership and SVoD subscriptions are expected to double over the next five years.

 

Aristimuño
Xavier Aristimuño,
HBO Latin America

“We offer content that awakens global interest in the Latin American audiovisual industry, proudly positioning our productions to new audiences around the world,” explains Xavier Aristimuño, HBO Latin America’s VP of licensing. “We guide our future through innovation, taking risks, and developing powerful narratives that explore new challenging formats and engage global audiences.”

 

In recent years, non-English-language content has seen a rise in popularity, with demand increasing across the globe. Aristimuño is well aware of this renewed interest in foreign-language content and believes HBO Latin America’s offering will entice those seeking to tap into the trend.

 

“Without a doubt, the increased international success of multicultural content has cultivated acceptance in markets that previously focused mostly on local content. It has given clients and potential clients the time to understand and enjoy the quality of our productions. The result has been clear, giving us an important boom in sales and brand positioning in different regions,” says the exec.

 

The Bronze Garden
The Bronze Garden

HBO Latin America has compiled an extensive slate in order to ensure the company continues to sell regional titles throughout the year. To date, HBO Latin America has more than 30 titles amounting to over 450 hours of content, ranging from series to miniseries and documentaries, all of which are dubbed into English, Spanish and Portuguese.

 

Aristimuño says that HBO Latin America’s mantra when compiling its slate is a trusted old adage: quality over quantity.

 

“All of our series produced around the world have similar levels of production value. We will continue with our proposal of investing and developing high-quality, provocative and innovative content. We always have high expectations for all of our productions, as they are enjoyable plots that are relatable through suspense, action, and drama,” says Aristimuño.

The Business
The Business

 

The company’s offering can be split into distinct groups, he explains. “We can divide our content into three segments, the first being the classics – productions that marked an era in Latin American production. The second category consists of our most recent hits and our third category includes our upcoming productions, which are generating enormous expectation and interest from international clients.”

 

In the first category, Aristimuño points to crime series El Jardín de Bronce (The Bronze Garden), based on Gustavo Malajovich’s book of the same name, and Brazilian drama series O Negócio (The Business), which follows four luxury escorts who come together with the common goal of revolutionising the world’s oldest profession. Older titles, such as drama series PSI and Sr Ávila, also feature on the current slate.

 

The Secret Life of Couples
The Secret Life of Couples

Aristimuño also highlights HBO Latin America’s recent launches, which consist of the latest season of Brazilian drama A Vida Secreta Dos Casais (The Secret Life of Couples) and fellow Brazilian shows Pico Da Neblina (Joint Venture) and Todxs Nós (He, She, They.), along with its most recent premiere, Hard.

 

The latter is an adaptation of the French series of the same name. It follows the story of a widowed housewife who, upon inheriting a pornographic film production company from her late husband, realises he may not have been all he seemed.

 

Perhaps most importantly, Aristimuño draws attention to HBO Latin America’s upcoming originals, which he is also presenting to buyers. Among them are HBO’s first Colombian original production, Mil Colmillos. Directed by Jaime Osorio and Pablo Gonzalez, the series follows an elite commando on a mission deep in the jungle to find and destroy a powerful and mysterious leader.

 

Joint Venture
Joint Venture

Additional upcoming releases on the slate are O Hóspede Americano (The American Guest), which follows the journey of former US president Teddy Roosevelt alongside Brazilian army officer Cândido Rondon to explore unknown regions and meet the inhabitants of the Amazon, and Argentinian miniseries Entre Hombres (Amongst Men), set in the underworld of 1990s Buenos Aires.

 

HBO Latin America has long had a strong regional presence, though Aristimuño says he and his team have been working hard to ensure regional titles venture into new markets far and wide.

 

“During the last year we have closed agreements with different platforms in different territories and we are continuing to push our projects through 2020. We are especially excited with the new markets in countries such as Japan, Russia, Australia, the UK, Italy, Turkey and Belgium and we are in negotiations with buyers in France, Germany, India, the MENA region and some countries in Asia. We’re also proud of continuing to have our HBO Latin America content in the US, included on the recently launched HBO Max platform.”

 

He, She, They.
He, She, They.

Nonetheless, the HBO exec says that the key to the company’s international success lies in its individuality, as he has no interest in following industry trends. Aristimuño would rather focus on ensuring HBO shows are known for their distinctive characteristics and qualities rather than catering to whatever may be currently in demand.

 

“We do not follow trends, as our only focus is continuing to be innovative, always maintaining the quality seal that characterises the HBO brand,” he says.

 

“We all understand the changes that the new digital age brings with the increased amount of options for SVoD platforms. It’s important to note that broadcasters from different platforms like SVoD, pay TV and free-to-air TV are also looking for series, miniseries and documentaries that have excelled already in global markets without any cultural or idiomatic limitation.”

 

All in all, Aristimuño and his team are working to ensure that regional Latin American titles are able to make the most out of the increased interest in foreign-language content and the HBO Latin America slate will certainly ensure the brand’s famous white noise intro will remain on our screens for many years.