Telenovelas Create Waves For Miami Firm At Vegas Trade Fair
Written by Suzy Valentine on February 2, 2006
By Suzy Valentine
A Miami mixing studio that is the world’s leading dubbing center for telenovelas may have attracted scores more clients at a trade fair in Las Vegas last week.
Representatives of the Kitchen attended the National Association of Television Program Executives event Jan. 24-26 and said they generated 50 qualified leads.
"Telenovelas were one of the biggest showpieces," said Deeny Kaplan, executive vice president of the Kitchen. "This year, the event seemed to be very much influenced by Latin or Hispanic TV, with high attendance from the Miami area."
The Kitchen’s services evoked interest among a breadth of participants, she said. "There were American programmers looking to sell in Spanish markets. Another attendee asked us to translate product into Hindi, and we met people from the US networks who want us to translate programming into French, German, Italian and Spanish but for American audiences. That’s how much influence is coming from the Hispanic marketplace."
One commission the Kitchen garnered at the fair is to translate Indian videos into English for the US market.
"They asked us to dub four videos," said Ms. Kaplan, who compared Hispanic and Asian films and TV. "Lots of Indian movies are very similar to telenovelas, where families play a key part and there is a lot of drama and color and contrast between people of different backgrounds. They are distinctly different to US programming."
Further moves are afoot that point to telenovelas’ increasingly mainstream acceptance, said Robert Parente, director of entertainment for the City of Miami. "There was a report that the CBS network is to start a soap opera that adheres more to the telenovela format with a beginning, middle and end, but the company plans to make the telenovela in English."
To accommodate such projects, he said, Miami-Dade County must offer better post-production facilities.
"In order to capitalize on the growing markets of telenovelas and English-language product, we need a major soundstage development," he said. "Something between Miami International Airport and South Beach would service the industry best. Greenwich Studios in North Miami is a good facility but has limited capacity."
Meanwhile, a change in law this year is expected to generate more business for dubbing and subtitling studios, including the Kitchen. The Federal Communications Commission handed down a ruling that all programming in English on broadcast channels must have closed captions. By 2010, all Spanish-language programs must have them. The target for this year is to have 25% of Spanish-language output with closed captions.
"We are training more translators to cope with the demand created by this and other factors," Ms. Kaplan said. "Our technology and electronic transferal of files allows us to circumvent courier services and customs. We use secure Internet sites and encrypt files so that they are only accessible to parties with the requisite software."
"The demand is remarkable," said Ken Lorber, Kitchen president and CEO. He said that each month, "we have as many as 40 to 50 episodes in some form of productions. Actors come in and out. A different language is heard in every studio. Music and effects tracks are often recreated and, when necessary, graphics are completed in each language."