Filipino Formats with Global Flavor

Manuel Paolo Laurena, senior sales manager at GMA Worldwide, shares how format sales have been a solid business for the company, which has notched up a number of deals over the last five years for remakes of its dramas.

Thanks to GMA Worldwide, the Filipino multimedia company GMA Network has seen its dramas and entertainment series airing in many markets around the globe. While some broadcasters are airing the originals, others have opted to adapt them as formats for their local audiences.

In 2012, GMA Worldwide sold the format rights for the drama The Impostor to a broadcaster in Cambodia. In 2015, the company licensed the format rights for Losing Heaven into Vietnam. Last year, thanks to a partnership with Latin Media Corporation (LMC), the remake rights for The Half SistersLittle HeiressMy Destiny and The Other Mrs. Real were sold to a production house in Mexico.

***Image***“GMA’s drama formats will do well in Mexico because we share a similar culture, and the dramas we produce illustrate real life experiences,” says Manuel Paolo Laurena, senior sales manager at GMA Worldwide. “Filipinos and Mexicans enjoy watching dramas that portray strong family values, love and romance, and the triumph of truth and justice.”

Laurena says that a show must have the right mix of drama, intrigue, romance and suspense in order to travel successfully as a scripted format. “These are what viewers—not only from the Philippines but also from other parts of the world—look for when watching dramas. GMA’s dramas have these elements, and we think this is why [we have seen an] increase in our format sales.”

He adds that selling unscripted formats is also on the company’s radar. “Although our goal is to be the premier source of Filipino dramas, we would also like to be recognized as a provider of unscripted entertainment formats from the Philippines,” Laurena says. “We showcase our game shows (Celebrity BluffPicture! Picture!), talent searches (StarStruckProtégé) and reality shows (Extra ChallengeFollow Your Heart) in key international markets.”

Partnerships are one way that GMA Worldwide has been working to broaden out its format sales business. For example, in 2015, the company struck up an alliance with Jose Escalante of Latin Media Corp. “LMC has so far been quite successful in distributing a select lineup of GMA dramas (canned and formats) to Latin America,” Laurena says.

This year, through Latin Media Corporation, GMA Worldwide sold the remake rights for My One and Only LoveUntil We Meet Again and My Superstar in Mexico.

“Our goal is to make GMA the primary source of quality scripted and non-scripted formats from the Philippines,” says Laurena.