Telemundo plans to tape 1,100 hours of telenovelas in Miami
By Zachary Fagenson
About 85% of the 1,300 hours of telenovelas that Hialeah-based Telemundo plans to produce in 2011 will be made in Miami-Dade.
The shows represent a $35 million investment that will employ about 550 people, according to Alfredo Richard, the company's senior vice president for communications and talent development.
Most of those positions are in-house and full-time, though Telemundo ramps up when a project is in production.
"A novela will on average employ about 200 people per project," Mr. Richard said.
A telenovela tells a full story in about 150 one-hour episodes. American soap operas, on the other hand, never end. The soap opera "General Hospital" is the Guinness Book of World Records' longest-running soap in history with more than 12,000 episodes.
"The way they are shot is a combination of exteriors and set production," Mr. Richard added. "Our production schedule is pretty much driven by the location more than the story line."
That means a production team may shoot several scenes for several episodes all within the same day at one location.
All the shows are filmed in high definition, and while he couldn't give an average cost of producing one novella, he said generally it's much lower than US-style television.
The shows air weekdays between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m.
Telemundo, however, doesn't only shoot content for itself.
A recent novela "¿Dónde está Elisa?" was distributed to 90 countries.
The company in 2005 made a foray into what Mr. Richard called "episodic television' with the series "Decisiones" that ran from 2005 to 2007.
Meanwhile, drastic shifts in US demographics, shown in the recent census, have Telemundo executives convinced opportunities will only grow.
The Hispanic population grew about 47%, from 35.3 million to 50.2 million, between 2000 and 2010. Growth in the segment, according to the US Census Bureau, accounted for more than half the population growth of the entire nation.
"We are a uniquely positioned at a time and a place where we're experts in catering to a demographic that is the fastest-growing and largest minority," Mr. Richard said. "Right now we're looking at [a market with] over a trillion dollars of purchasing power and that will continue to grow."
Advertisers have been slowly adjusting strategies to the nation's changing reality, and the latest census information should bring them around faster.
"For the last five to six years there's been a slow, but still growing, awareness of the opportunity," Mr. Richard continued. The "census this year helped in creating a broader awareness, especially among general market advertiser that in the past may not have considered" the Hispanic community.
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