Dori Execs Discuss Content Production Trends


Nadav Palti and Joshua Mintz of Dori Media Group participated in a panel at MIP CANCUN, moderated by Elizabeth Bowen-Tombari, editor of TV Latina, in which they discussed the current state of production, the impact of the current situation in Israel and production trends in a competitive market.

Palti has been the CEO and president of the company for 20 years. He commented that during these two decades, “It’s been a long journey, and we’ve had many ups and downs. The world has changed a lot in the last two years. We acquired a majority stake in Dori Media in 2002 and immediately started producing in Argentina and Israel. Before, there were companies with few channels in Israel, and content from Argentina was mainly distributed to channels in Israel.”

The executive mentioned that the first production was Rebelde Way in Argentina, followed by the development of Floricienta. After the success of these productions, the company went public on the London Stock Exchange in 2005. “In 2006, we launched the distribution arm and continued producing quite a bit with the money generated from the stock exchange,” he explained. Among these productions are Lalola and Ciega a citas.

“In 2016-17, we realized that the world was changing,” Palti continued. “Turkish dramas were growing in popularity and traditional novelas were declining in Argentina and the rest of Latin America. Large OTTs like Netflix also began operating, so we started to change our strategy. We began producing high-quality series, with six to 12 episodes, such as Losing Alice, which we sold to Apple TV+ and premiered worldwide, along with other productions sold to Netflix and HBO, among others. We will continue this path of high-quality production.”

The conversation then addressed the current situation in Israel and how it has affected the company’s business. “It’s a strong impact and a very difficult moment for us, for which we were not prepared,” said Palti. “But the pandemic taught us that we could continue working remotely, so we [have continued] operating the channels 24/7 in Israel. In production, we postponed the recordings of a new season of The New Black to mid-January, [among other productions]. It is very dangerous to gather a large group of people to work right now.”

Bowen-Tombari asked about the strategies the company is employing to present engaging stories on screens around the world. Mintz, chief content officer, commented, “For me, it’s a bit easier because I can build on the successes that Nadav and the Israeli producers have achieved. I am considering the past successes of the library. The key is to recognize the intellectual property and see what new version can be created in the new reality of formats and, above all, what customers are looking for.”

Two notable productions that the company presented at MIPCOM in October were Amia and Indal. Regarding how the opportunity to develop these series arose, Palti pointed out that it takes time to produce this type of program, up to six or seven years. “We made Indal with HOT, the largest cable company in Israel,” he explained. “We presented the project to them, they liked it, and then we developed it. We believe it will be successful worldwide. Each episode is like a feature film.”

Mintz spoke about a new version of Lalola for ViX in Mexico. “Lalola is one of the crown jewels of Dori Media’s IP,” he said. “In fact, it was a story that I bought from Nadav at another time to produce something that has always caught my attention. I think this is the right time to do it because if we had done it ten years ago, it would have been a different production from what we did now because television and telenovelas have changed.”

He added, “What we did for this version was to bring it to the present day and change the format. We are making 20 half-hour episodes, and it is very funny, more focused on sitcom. It was a challenge to take the best of the story and characters from the original series and change their environment, but I think we assembled an excellent production team that understood the main concept very well.”

Regarding how they work to reduce costs per episode, Mintz noted, “We have passed that golden era where there were unlimited budgets for television series. In the case of Lalola, we started writing a year before going into production. By the time we reached preproduction, we already had 20 episodes written, resulting in efficient development. The way to do all this is to have a clear vision from producers, writers and directors.”

When asked about the business models employed for productions like Lalola and Amia, Palti said, “They are two different business models. With Amia, we had an idea that seemed important to us, so we decided to invest money and develop the production. After the project had started, some private investors joined, becoming our partners that financed the story.”

For Lalola, he added that it was a commission from ViX in Mexico. “The model was like others we have used in the business. Mostly, we try to distribute the new format worldwide, and we want to retain the right to do it globally.”

“The work for Lalola was very rewarding because ViX has a very good professional development team,” Mintz explained. “When you have a partner who commissions the work and whose creative input is timely and correct, all this does is make the product look better.”