WBD’s Anouk Aarón Talks Content Development


Anouk Aarón of Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD) spoke about the strategies for developing innovative content, the enduring value of novelas and working with talent, among other topics, during a keynote moderated by TV Latina’s Elizabeth Bowen-Tombari at MIP CANCUN.

The conversation began with the elements a project must have for the company to get involved. Aarón, director of general entertainment content production for Latin America and the U.S. Hispanic market, said the first thing is that content must “have powerful and relevant stories that connect and excite our audience. Additionally, we look for products with significant quality and talent behind them. We believe that local talent brings the quality and relevance we seek in each of our productions.”

Delving into the importance of WBD’s original content, she stated, “Our strategy is primarily a combination of global content and content with a local touch. It’s a balance where the local aspect allows us to connect and make our brands inclusive. [We want] audiences to feel identified with our content. For us, that is the main contribution of content, making each brand deepen its connection with its audiences.”

In addition to the local element, Aarón pointed out that “emotion is part of internationalization, which allows for content to travel. Max allows us to tell local stories that can transcend borders and be consumed globally. This year, we have three international productions based on works or characters that are relevant and known worldwide. In Brazil, we are producing City of God 20 years after the movie. It’s not a remake but a continuation of the [original] story.”

Meanwhile, in Mexico, she mentioned that the company is in the preproduction stage of a biographical series about Roberto Gómez Bolaños, known worldwide as Chespirito. “We are fortunate to have his son accompanying us in this process,” she explained. “Another project we’re excited about is Como agua para chocolate, based on the novel by Laura Esquivel. It’s a story focused on Mexico but has traveled, and we want it to go further because it is a well-known story. The novel has been translated into more than 30 languages.”

The conversation then addressed the diversity of genres the company offers, including true-crime productions. “True-crime is a genre we have worked on a lot in both fiction and factual,” Aarón said. “It’s a rich genre that attracts viewers, and these are stories of real cases that have been impactful and important in Latin America.”

Bowen-Tombari asked about other projects, including dramas, reality shows and formats. “For fiction, we look for content that is innovative, that brings in new audiences, but primarily by working with new talent,” Aarón said. “We want to give opportunities to new talent while remaining true to who we speak to.”

Aarón also highlighted the company’s work on novelas. “They are very Latin American,” she said.“They were and continue to be very important for our consumers and the general audience. It’s no longer just adults consuming this type of content, but the new generations also view it. It is very important to find the possibility of exporting novels. We believe that our melodramatic stories can be consumed outside” of Latin America.

She added, “We currently have two productions in Brazil with an innovative model. Historically, novelas were produced by major channels in Brazil, which still happens and is fine, but here we have independent producers finding the best hybrid model between the world of series and novelas to create content that we’ll launch soon.”

Regarding reality shows, Aarón noted, “It is a genre that we give great importance to as a company. It’s content that also connects a lot because it speaks to people about realities that we all can have or desire. [It shows] how we can behave in adverse situations. We have Supervivencia al desnudo (Naked and Afraid), a Discovery franchise that has been successful for ten years in many territories. We have several seasons in Brazil and Mexico. Additionally, we just premiered the second season of Divina comida, which features 16 celebrities sharing four dinners weekly to determine who is the best host. And through this search for the best host of the week, we can enter their homes and get to know their intimacies, stories and amusing anecdotes.”

Amid the proliferation of productions at WBD, working with talent is crucial, explained Aarón. “It’s not easy. All producers and directors are always looking for the best talent. It’s very important to us. We try to incorporate talent as soon as possible. If it’s not possible, we don’t settle but go out to search, and this is where we find opportunities for new talents. When a new talent is found, whether in front of or behind the camera, it’s easier to bring them on board.”