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Venevision: A Vision Beyond Latin America.

Venevision International, one of the world's leading program distributors, has proved to be a success since its establishment on September 15, 1982 as an offshoot of Venezuela's TV network Venevision. The Florida-based company was originally named Television Latina Inc., but on December 27, 1991 it was changed to Venevision International Inc. Today, Venevision International boasts TV hits in 104 countries, including Indonesia, Japan, China, Russia, Germany, Italy and in the Middle East region. Its shows have been translated into 20 languages and has a presence on all five continents.

With a staff of 60 people, Venevision International is part of the Cisneros Group's media division and is now involved in TV program distribution, production, co-production, Spanish-language film distribution, theater production, worldwide sports events (such as the Soccer World Cup) and the creation, acquisition and sales of TV formats. According to marketing director Jose Espinal, "the company, as a whole, rakes in $120 million a year, of which $80 million comes from worldwide programming distribution. The difference in revenue comes from the World Cup rights, theaters and movies.

Some of the most well-known brands are affiliated and/or co-producers with Venevision International. In addition to Venezuela's Venevision Channel 4, they include: the Argentinean satellite pay TV channel Infinito; the Miami, Florida-based Venevision International Productions and Playboy International, all owned by the Cisneros Group. Business relationships include indie producer Iguana Productions in Peru and TV station TV Cultura in Brazil; Germany's music powerhouse BMG; Colombia's production company Telesistema; film producer Sogepag in Spain; children's TV producers Film Roman in the U.S. and Juana La Iguana in Venezuela; and producer Televicentro also in Venezuela. Even though it seems ready to expand further, for now, Venevision has no plans to acquire new companies nor is it planning to go public.

On the TV programming distribution side, Venevision International does a significant amount of business in the Ibero-American market. Last year, the company sold 19,000 cumulative hours of programming throughout Latin America. Currently, the company has 300 key titles in their library With telenovelas, variety shows, talk shows, documentaries, specials, children's shows, youth-oriented programs, animated series and comedies on their slate, Venevision has, in total, more than 20,000 hours of programming available for various territories.

This aspect of the company holds great importance for Venevision, as noted by president Luis Villanueva. "Distribution is our core business because it is already established and it brings in the most revenue. The others, like film and formats, have tremendous potential [but] will prove their worth over time."

The independently-owned Vision Europa, its exclusive rep firm based in Madrid, Spain, sells Venevision International's product in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. As for the duration of this exclusive distribution agreement, Villanueva declined to comment.

The production division of Venevision International for now operates primarily out of South Florida. In efforts to appeal to an international market as well as the Hispanic audience in the U.S., with high-quality productions, the company acquired and improved technical facilities around Miami and Miami Beach. As a producer, Venevison is making comedies such as Candid Camera, talk shows like Marta Susana and the music channel -- HTV.

As far as co-productions are concerned, the company has more than three years of experience under its belt, having co-produced sitcoms with Spain's Telecino, novelas with Peru-based Iguana Productions and erotic novelas with Playboy TV International.

On the film front, last month marked the company's first foray into the exhibition of Spanish-language theatrical films. It already boasts 100 movies for Ibero-American territories in their catalog. Venevision also solidified its relationship with the Festival de Cine Hispano de Miami by sponsoring the film festival event and participating in its organization.

A recent coup for Venevision is the Soccer World Cup (in Korea and in Japan for 2002). Satellite service DirectTV Latin America has bought all rights, with Venevision as its programming sales agent, which means that it will focus on marketing and selling the event. In addition, Venevision is incharge of the Cup's pay-per-view showings in cinemas, closed-circuits programming sales for bars and other recreational places, radio advertising and free TV rights for Argentina, Mexico, Venezuela, Colombia, Chile and Uruguay.

Now, like every other entertainment business, Venevision International is dealing with the ramifications of the economic recession with a simple philosophy: "As the economic conditions vary we work with our clients and tailor our efforts in terms of advertising investments and buying capacity," stated Villanueva.
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Publication:Video Age International
Geographic Code:3VENE
Date:Oct 1, 2001
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