The Week at NATPE Miami


After a rocky start with guests unable to check-in for hours due to a computer malfunction, NATPE wrapped in Miami yesterday following three days of panels focused on “every area of the business,” JP Bommel said in his closing press conference, and a slew of deals, especially in the scripted and format spaces.

“The economy of content and the seismic changes in the industry really have created an opportunity for us to have touchpoints on every area of the business,” Bommel, president and CEO of NATPE, said at his closing press conference.

Indeed, NATPE Miami’s tenth edition kicks off a year that is expected to be a transformational one in the streaming wars. Taking place just a few days after NBCUniversal presented its upcoming ad-supported Peacock service, the event explored not just the increasingly competitive U.S. landscape, but the expanding opportunities internationally as well. “Our conference and its sessions will be facilitating conversations on how content executives plan to realign their businesses as the overlay the ecosystem’s new objectives in areas including programming, distribution, pricing, windows and many other areas,” Bommel said in his opening remarks on Tuesday.

Tubi, which bills itself as the biggest AVOD service in the U.S., made headlines this week when it revealed plans to partner with TV Azteca to expand into Mexico. Meanwhile, Pluto TV is prepping a LatAm launch this year.

Pluto TV and Tubi join the major global streamers in stepping up their efforts in LatAm. Netflix revealed earlier this week that the global market is powering its subs growth at present as it faces an increasingly competitive SVOD space in the U.S. (LatAm revenues rose to $746 million with 31.4 million subs, a gain of 2 million in the quarter.) Amazon Prime Video announced the green light of four new local original series from Argentina, Chile and Colombia. Acorn TV picked up more than 180 hours of prime-time drama from all3media international for its streaming service in Latin America. (Univision Communications and Televisa affirmed their belief in linear, announcing plans to bring a Univision-branded 24-hour pay-TV channel to LatAm this year.)

Pierluigi Gazzolo, president of Viacom International Studios and OTT at ViacomCBS Networks International, discussed the importance of Pluto TV to the company in his keynote address yesterday, which was followed by him being presented with the inaugural Premio Ícono TV Latina Award in association with NATPE.

“Imagine a pyramid,” Gazzolo said in his conversation with World Screen’s Anna Carugati. “At the top, you have the people that are willing to pay for content. The bottom is wider, those are people that will never pay for content. That is a big chunk of Latin America. The middle part of the pyramid is the hybrid place. This is where the distributors live, the MVPDs live. They are there to aggregate both. They want subscribers to stay with them. The ultimate goal of the advanced MVPD is that my subscriber never leaves my set-top box. They aggregate the top of the pyramid, which is products like Netflix, and the bottom of the pyramid, which is YouTube and [free TV]. We wanted to be in those places. We were already in the middle. With Paramount+ and Noggin, we hit the top. With Pluto TV, which we think is an amazing product that is launching soon in LatAm, we have [a free product].”

Also transformative for the company was the creation of Viacom International Studios (VIS), which began in Latin America and has since launched in Europe, with further expansion planned, Gazzolo said. The division, which is producing shows both for ViacomCBS-owned outlets and third parties, had an exceptionally busy week. It revealed first-look deals with director and screenwriter Ariel Winograd and Spanish-American film and TV producer Frida Torresblanco and her production company, Braven Films; partnered with El Deseo, owned by brothers Pedro and Agustín Almodóvar; and landed a pact with The Mediapro Studio for season two of Club 57.

The Mediapro Studio was equally busy aligning with key talent at NATPE. It is co-producing the new spy thriller El Medico with Paraiso Pictures and the dystopic thriller To Kill a Queen with Brazil’s Boutique Filmes. And the company revealed a partnership with Wild Sheep Content, the production company founded by Erik Barmack.

Marcos Santana, president of Telemundo Global Studios, addressed the importance of aligning with top-tier talent in his keynote conversation yesterday as he constantly looks to “elevate the quality of the Latin content.” Of note, the Hispanic broadcaster inked a deal with Mexican actor Fernando Colunga to star in various original productions. Telemundo Global Studios and Telemundo International Studios are also producing for a range of third-party clients, including the upcoming Peacock. “We have many partners,” Santana said in his conversation with World Screen’s Carugati. “We are on our fourth series with Netflix. We have a deal with Movistar in Spain. We are taping a series for Quibi.”

WarnerMedia’s Turner Latin America is also investing in scripted, revealing a new original movie banner, Particular Crowd. Turner LatAm subsequently announced a deal with MarVista Entertainment for the new banner.

In other key drama news to emerge out of Miami this week, Endemol Shine Iberia, through its affiliate Zeppelin, sealed a co-development deal with the Argentinean content agency Utópica Media for the dramedy series Fuego; Gaumont announced it had optioned Sandra Cisneros’ classic coming-of-age novel The House on Mango Street; and Cisneros Media licensed Amor Secreto and Gata Salvaje to Amazon Prime Video for Latin America. Turner Latin America and Madd Entertainment signed a deal to bring the Turkish drama series A Miracle and The Choice to multiple platforms in LatAm. In addition, Nippon TV’s Japanese dramas Mother and Woman–My Life for My Children– will air on Teleamazones in Ecuador and Red Uno in Bolivia this year, while HBO Latin America licensed its original series Sr. Ávila and The Business (O Negócioto Hulu Japan.

NATPE Miami also saw a wealth of LatAm format news. A new deal between all3media international and Discovery Latin America will see the factual-entertainment format 10 Years Younger returning to the region. Keshet International licensed the hidden-camera game show Deal With It! to Televisa in Mexico for its free-to-air network Canal 5. A+E Networks International sealed a deal for UnREAL to be localized in Brazil. Viacom International Studios started production on an adaptation of the Turkish series Şahsiyet (Persona). Dori Media Group sold additional seasons of its reality format Power Couple into Mexico and Brazil. FOX ordered the drama pilot The Cleaning Lady, based on the original Argentine series La chica que limpia.

A NATPE panel yesterday explored the importance of format-based entertainment on U.S. Hispanic broadcaster Telemundo. Titled “Innovating Content for an Evolving Audience,” the panel featured Cisco Suarez, executive VP of primetime realities and specials at NBCU Telemundo Enterprises; Romina Rosado, senior VP of digital at NBCU Telemundo Network Group; and Luis Fernandez, executive VP of news at Telemundo Network, in conversation with World Screen’s Carugati. Shows like La Voz and Exatlón have been a draw with both audiences and advertisers, Suarez and Rosado noted, presenting opportunities across multiple platforms.

In factual news, meanwhile, Cineflix Rights secured an agreement with National Geographic Latin America for multiple titles from its science and natural-history slate, and TCB Media Rights closed deals totaling 130-plus hours of programming with broadcasters across Latin America. FilmRise and Sky Studios announced they are partnering to co-produce the docuseries Bloodline Detectives, the first show to explore familial DNA searching and testing. The food and lifestyle channel Gusto TV is set to roll out on TikiLIVE, an OTT and IPTV platform available in the U.S. and Latin America. Programs from Cisneros Media’s Mobius.Lab, including Food Pop, have made their way to more than 80 countries around the world in a new round of sales.

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